Robert Irwin’s “Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light”
The Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
Through September 1
It has been 36 years since Robert Irwin, now 84 years old, debuted his Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This summer, the legendary installation, designed specifically for the fourth floor of the Breuer building, returns to the museum. As the title suggests, Irwin’s minimalist installation is composed of three simple elements: a black line that runs along the length of the gallery walls, natural light that enters through the museum’s iconic trapezoidal window, and a white translucent polyester scrim hung from the ceiling that slices through the space. These elements divide the space into various geometric forms and create a disorienting experience. As visitors circle the gallery and daylight moves across the room, the perception of space is shown to be less definite than one might previously have imagined.
This summer, the Whitney Museum of American Art will reinstall a work for the first time since its original conception in 1977. Robert Irwin (b. 1928) formed the large-scale Scrim veil-Black rectangle-Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, especially for the Emily Fisher Landau Gallery almost four decades ago. The exhibition was central to Irwin’s career, as it determined the path for his ensuing practice, and will now be on display for the second time from June 27 to September 1, 2013.