From the DS Archives: Dennis Oppenheim

This Sunday, From the DS Archives recalls American land and performance artist, Dennis Oppenheim, who passed away at the beginning of this year. Two sculptures  by Oppenheim – Engagement and Arriving Home - are included in the Vancouver Biennale, which closes June 30th. By positioning works within the context of various hubs of transportation – along bike routes, at the Vancouver International Airport, at new Canada Line stations and wrapped on buses and rapid transit trains – the exhibition emphasizes the physical movement of people in our mobile society, as well as our changing attitudes and sensibilities towards public art.

This article was originally written by Catherine Wagley on October 2, 2008.


Dennis Oppeheim, known for his experimentation in land art and body art, is now exhibiting new work at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles. Cactus Grove features colorful, exuberant, architectural sculptures of cacti – a lighthearted but characteristic venture for an artist who has spent the last forty years adventurously challenging the way people interact with space and nature. Oppenheim has used a span of materials, including fiber glass, side walk grating, galvanized steel, doors and windows, to evoke these organic cactus forms, engaging a conversation between architecture and natural bodies.

Oppenheim, who has lived and worked in New York since the 1960s, studied art at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and Stanford University. At the 2007 Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, he was recognized for his life’s work in sculpture, photography and performance. Recently, Oppenheim was commissioned to display public sculptures during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Two of his works, Engagement and Raining Halos, appeared during the games, one in Hong Kong, the other in Beijing. Oppenheim’s exhibition at Ace Gallery continues through December 2008.