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Art & Art History

Regional Voices: Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin

Monday, November 11, 1985
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 South Peoria Street

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Prolific painter and installation artist Robert Irwin (born 1928) was recently granted the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the first artist to receive the award. He is part of the Light and Space artists whose work pushes the boundaries of art and perception. Irwin sees critical differences between “site-specific” art and his own “site-conditioned” art, which he explicates in his forthcoming book . In the former, the art is still keyed to the oeuvre of the artist. As Irwin puts it, “a Richard Serra is always recognizable as first and foremost a Richard Serra,” so that while the specific work produced by the artist is in part a response to the site, the work remains bound by styles, materials and techniques that are already particular to the artist. By contrast, Irwin wants his art to draw all of its cues from its surroundings, so that the response may be “monumental or ephemeral, aggressive or gentle, useful or useless, sculptural, architectural or simply the planting of a tree or maybe doing nothing at all.”