Art of the 20th Century

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Dennis Oppenheim


Dennis Oppenheim

Born in Electric City, Washington, 1938.
School of Arts and Crafts, Oakland (B.F.A., 1965) and Stanford University, Palo Alto, (M.F.A., 1965).
Lives and works in New York City.

The artistic trajectory of Dennis Oppenheim has always been characterized by its incorrigible discontinuity, motivated then as today by an intensely adventurous curiosity.   Following his earthworks (1967-69 and body-works came the installations (from 1972 onwards), using puppets as their main theme (the harrowing piece "Attempt to Raise Hell" at the Pompidou Center).   Later on, at the end of the seventies, Oppenheim produced what he calls his "machine pieces" which, by denying the object its sculptural status, are presented as complex constructions, systems open to both an aleatory and an enigmatic mode of functioning...   There is an interesting progression from the early machine pieces which seemed infused with a confidence in rationality and in the possibility of grasping the structure of the mind to the late works which were designed to literally blow up and which seem to celebrate the triumph of irrationality and chaos.

Art Press, January 1993, Dennis Oppenheim: A Process of Discontinuity, by Eleanor Heartney



Rocked Circle - Fear - 1971


Two Stage Transfer Drawing - 1971


Two Stage Transfer Drawing (Advancing to a Future State)


Two Stage Transfer Drawing (Advancing to a Future State)


Forming Sounds


Device to Root Out Evil


Parque de la Memoria - Buenos Aires  - Monumento al escape


Table Piece - 1975


Early Morning Blues - 1977


Diamond Cutter’s Wedding - 1979


Exit for the South Bronx - 1979


Revenge - 1979


Saturn Up-Draft - 1979


Way Station Launching an Obsolete Power
(A Thought Collision Factory in Pursuit of a Journey) (A Clip in a Rifle - A Weapon) - 1980


Impulse Reactor
A Device for Detecting, Entering and Converting Past Lies Traveling Underground and in the Air - 1980


Crystal Recorder (Stroking the Throat of Tornado Diane) (An Early Warning System) - 1980


Launching Structure #2 An Armature for Projection (From the Fireworks Series) - 1982


Sleeping Dogs


Object with a Memory - 1983


Blue Tattoo - 1999


Crystal Mountain - 2005


Enlarged Object to Cast Light in Between the Toes - 2005


Attempt to Raise Hell - 1974


Spirit Notes - 1989


Hot Voices - 1989


Digestion - 1989


Above the Wall of Electrocution - 1989


Woman with Cubist Tendencies - 1993


Village Around Piss Lake - 1993


Galloping through the Wheat - 1993


Blood Breathe - 1996


Buildings Poking their Eyes Out 


Blue Collar 


Marriage Tree 


Lightening Bolt Man - 2001


Brush Building 


Newton Discovering Gravity - 1984


Impersonation Station - 1988


Device To Root Out Evil - 1997


Drinking Structure with Exposed Kidney Pool - 1998


Performance Piece - 2000


Bus Home - 2002


Flying Garden 


Mobile Lighthouse


Electric Field 


Reading Position for Second Degree Burn - 1970


Arm and Wire - 1969


Cancelled Crop - 1969


Annual Rings - 1968


Landslide - 1968

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