Suite: Olympic Centennial Newton discovering gravity

Dennis Oppenheim1990 - 1992

The Olympic Museum

The Olympic Museum

Coloured composition on a black background, like fireworks.

Dennis Oppenheim recreated, on a two-dimensional support, his artistic installation NEWTON DISCOVERING GRAVITY, made in 1984 in Artpark Lewiston, New York, where artists spent summers creating temporary artworks outdoors. This sculpture was a half transparent head in stainless steal mesh work which was also the platform for a firework extravaganza on 1 August 1984.

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  • Title: Suite: Olympic Centennial Newton discovering gravity
  • Date Created: 1990 - 1992
  • Location Created: United States of America
  • Sculptor: Dennis Oppenheim
  • Physical Dimensions: w610 x h890 cm (Complete)
  • Description: Caption: "Newton discovering gravity". From the 50 original works of the Olympic Centennial Suite, the IOC printed 250 lithographs of each work, all measuring 63/90cm, on Arches vellum paper (270 grams), signed by the artist and numbered.
  • Collection information: The "Olympic Centennial Suite ", brings together 50 works by international artists who are representative of the variety of contemporary artistic tendencies. It was created on the occasion of the centenary of the foundation of the International Olympic Committee in 1994. For the choice of the works, the IOC brought in two prestigious French art critics, Gérard Xuriguera and Francis Parent. More than two years were necessary to constitute this Suite, with the aim of representing, in just 50 works, the multiplicity of creative work produced over the last five decades, from the figurative to the abstract, from hyperrealism to minimalism, from the new figurative school to abstract expressionism, as well as geometrism, conceptual art, and body art. It was decided that each international artist selected should create a work on a two-dimensional support. Some of these artists, aware of the importance of the message of the Olympic Movement, have rendered this spirit a special homage, while always remaining faithful to their own personal style. This "Suite" can be qualified as the jewel of the art collection of The Olympic Museum.
  • Artistic school or movement: Dennis Oppenheim earned his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and an MFA from Stanford University in Palo Alto in 1965. He moved to New York in 1966 and lived there until his death in 2011. Considered as a conceptual artist, performance artist, earth artist, sculptor and photographer, Oppenheim began his artistic career experimenting in the field of “Land Art”. For him, nature was the place of mental projection; his gigantic creations – circles, spirals, wells, cones, mazes - can be understood only from the air. From 1970 onwards, the focus of his artistic interest changed and he started creating three-dimensional scenes with puppets, which symbolised art and artists. At this time, he was part of the vanguard of artists using film and video in relation to performance. At the end of the seventies, Oppenheim produced his “machine pieces”, complex constructions functioning in an aleatory and enigmatic mode. Later works were designed to literally blow up and to celebrate the triumph of irrationality and chaos. Dennis Oppenheim was also commissioned by the Seoul Olympic Organising Committee in 1988 to design works for installation in a Seoul park: his “Impersonation Station” combined technological and natural elements in stark, often amusing juxtapositions. From the mid-1990s onwards, he created a number of large-scale public art pieces in major cities around the world, some of which proved controversial.
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: International Olympic Committee, 2004, ©IOC/G.Peter
  • Medium: Lithography

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