Robert Irwin, Scrim veilBlack rectangleNatural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Robert Irwin, Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1977. Cloth, metal, and wood, 144 × 1368 × 49 in.

The Whitney takes the prize for the most cooling and indeed refreshing show this summer: Robert Irwin’s recreation of his site-specific 1977 piece for the museum. Roberta Smith aptly describes the show in a recent NYT review:

“Scrim Veil — Black Rectangle — Natural Light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York” is an installation piece that has not been exhibited since its debut in 1977 and probably will not be seen again for years. A levitating concoction composed of a white semitransparent polyester scrim, a black attenuated aluminum beam and a black line painted on the wall, it has the scale of a spectacle; it takes up the museum’s entire fourth floor. But it is devoid of the sensational ostentation, heavy-duty physicality or technical complexity typical of the genre. It involves very little in the way of materials, and what’s here is decidedly analog. 

The show closes on September 1.


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