Survey: Booth S16 Curated with Prem Krishnamurthy December 7 – 10, 2017
Curated by Simone Subal Gallery with Prem Krishnamurthy, this solo booth spotlights the multifaceted work of polymathic artist and writer Brian O’Doherty (b. 1928). Challenging accepted art historical categories, O’Doherty (a.k.a. Patrick Ireland) provokes novel interactions between visitors, artworks, and their contexts of presentation. For Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, Simone Subal Gallery presents rarely-exhibited paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a new “rope drawing” installation. Together, these varied works following a strand of thinking that connects the artist’s synthesis of encoded language and bodily experience with abstract linear form.
The booth revolves around several newly available works. Pair (1967) is a monumental, two-piece sculpture featuring mirrored angles that reflect both the viewer and the environment. Featured in Gregory Battcock’s landmark 1968 volume Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, this iconic sculpture prefigures O’Doherty’s celebrated mirrored works, which are also on view here. These “Ogham sculptures” incorporate an ancient linear Celtic code. Recurring in O’Doherty’s work, Ogham is resonant with embedded significance and legible to the instructed eye. A work from this series is currently on view in the exhibition “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980” at The Met Breuer, New York.
These objects stand in dialogue with linear works such as Portrait of Marcel Duchamp: Three Leads (1966), a kinetic sculpture from an electrocardiogram that O’Doherty (also a trained doctor) took of Marcel Duchamp’s heartbeat. Conceptually reanimating the elder artist, the spiked pulse of the EKG becomes a line drawing to encapsulate time, frequency, and life-essence itself. A new rope drawing, the most recent in an ongoing body begun in the early 1970s as a challenge to the so-called “white cube,” requires the viewer’s movement and vision to complete a perceptual image. Augmented by drawings and paintings from the late 1960s through 1970s, the booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 offers an investigation of abstraction as a way to hold meaning.