Art Basel Miami Beach
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.
Brian O’Doherty (b. 1928, Ireland) has led a remarkable and multifaceted career. After working and researching as a medical doctor, he relocated to the USA, where he hosted two television shows on art and culture, interviewing figures like Edward Hopper and Cassius Clay. O’Doherty served as art critic for The New York Times and as editor of Art in America magazine. He edited and designed the groundbreaking “conceptual issue” of the multimedia magazine-in-a-box Aspen, as well as authored the seminal essay series “Inside the White Cube.” While part-time director of the National Endowment for the Art’s visual arts and media program, he helped make Soho a magnet for artists, coined the term “alternative space,” and championed early video art. From 1972 to 2008, he worked as an artist under the pseudonym Patrick Ireland. O’Doherty / Ireland has mounted over forty solo exhibitions, and was the subject of several career-spanning surveys, most recently at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (2007) and P! / Simone Subal Gallery (2017, 2014). Recent group shows include The Met Breuer (2017); MoMA PS1 (2016); Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College (2016); Austrian Cultural Forum New York (2016); Hamburger Bahnhof (2015); and Centre Pompidou (2015). His recent exhibitions have received praise from publications such as The New York Times, Artforum, and Art in America. O’ Doherty is the author of several novels, including The Deposition of Father McGreevy (2000), which was nominated for The Man Booker Prize. He lives and works in New York with his wife, art historian Barbara Novak. Simone Subal Gallery has represented O’Doherty since 2013.