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Sarah Oppenheimer S-337473

  • Exhibition

  • On view October 2019

Sarah Oppenheimer‘s work pivots between sculpture and architecture, disrupting our experience of spatial continuity and shaping our experience of the built environment. For MASS MoCA, Oppenheimer will re-orient S-337473 (developed with the support of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio) along B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building’s northern processional axis.

Comprised of two large-scale, glass-and-metal structures anchored by a unique pivot mechanism — what the artist refers to as “switches” — S-337473 roatates at a 45-degree angle when activated by visitors, with just the slightest intervention. Contact animates and alters their position, shifting the division of interior space and the reflected view in the glass surface. When oriented in a vertical or horizontal position, switches reflect sightlines through the renovated building’s north-facing 19th–century factory windows and to the Hoosic River beyond. Once activated, switches slip deftly between surrounding columns, rotating through a dampened and defined arc: What appeared at one moment to be a vertical glass column is transformed into a horizontal reflecting screen.

The motion of S-337473 exaggerates the transitory relationship between the architecture and those who inhabit it. This accelerated change heightens an awareness of a periodic relay between building and body, appliance and envelope, making explicit the temporal register of architectural adaptation and change.

About the Artist
Sarah Oppenheimer (b. 1972 in Austin, TX) received a BA from Brown University in 1995 and an MFA from Yale University in 1999. Recent solo projects include S-281913 (Pérez Art Museum Miami 2016), S-337473 (Wexner Center for the Arts 2017), S-399390 (Mudam, Luxembourg 2016), 33-D (Kunsthaus Baselland 2014) and W-120301, an architecturally embedded permanent commission at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2012). Her work has been exhibited at such venues as the Andy Warhol Museum (2012); the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2009); Art Unlimited, Art Basel (2009); Skulpturens Hus (Stockholm); the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Mattress Factory; the Drawing Center; and the Sculpture Center. She is the recipient of a Rome Prize Fellowship (2011–12), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2009), and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2007). Ms. Oppenheimer is currently a senior critic at the Yale University School of Art.

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