August 31, 2011

Getty Commissions New Work by Robert Irwin for Pacific Standard Time



"Black on White" Installed at the Getty Center as Part of Region-Wide Los Angeles Arts InitiativeAt the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
September 1, 2011 – March 18, 2012



Black on White, 2011. Robert Irwin (American, born 1928). Granite.
This work was commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust in honor of James N. Wood. © Robert Irwin

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum installed a newly commissioned large-scale work by artist Robert Irwin as part of Pacific Standard Time, a Getty-led initiative that tells the story of the rise of the Los Angeles art scene and its impact on the art world. The work was commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust in honor of James N. Wood, the Trust’s former president and CEO, who passed away in June 2010.

A wedge of black granite weighing 40,000 pounds, Black on White extends from the Entrance Hall of the J. Paul Getty Museum into the courtyard. Like all of Irwin’s work since the 1970s, this piece is site-conditional, organized conceptually and physically by the space in which it is installed. Just as architect Richard Meier considered the Getty rotunda as a lobby that encompasses both the indoors and the outdoors, Irwin’s sculpture literally moves from inside to outside, allowing the building’s glass wall to pass through its sculptural form.

Black on White is an extraordinarily powerful, enigmatic presence in the Entrance Hall’s rotunda—a dramatic, sleek, black radius, linking the Museum’s indoor and outdoor spaces,” explains David Bomford, acting director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Artist and teacher Robert Irwin is considered one of the foremost contemporary artists working in America. Born and raised in Southern California, Irwin began his career as a painter, associating with the vibrant Ferus gallery scene of the late 1950s and 1960s. Irwin’s ongoing considerations of the nature of light and space led him to consider his paintings as objects, which eventually led him to produce complex environmental paintings and, in turn, non-object based environments and installations. By the early 1970s he was a leader among the generation of artists to define the “Light and Space” movement, which informed the complex works he continues to produce today. Irwin’s artwork is characterized by unique perceptual qualities that are produced by and respond to the specific conditions that surround each work.

In conceiving Black on White, Irwin considered the rotunda’s light-filled space; as the light changes throughout the day, so does the surface quality of the polished granite. He also took into account the thousands of visitors who pass through the rotunda each day. “It was a very big challenge to put a piece in that huge, heavily populated lobby and give it a commanding presence,” said Irwin. “I realized it had to be one gesture, and it had to be black, because everything else is white.”

In addition to site-specific installations, Irwin’s work has also included extensive theoretical writing and landscape design. Black on White is the second artwork produced by Irwin for the Getty Center. In 1997, he completed the Central Garden, one of his best-known commissions. The presentation of Black on White coincides with the October 2011 release of the Getty Publications book Notes Toward a Conditional Art, a significant collection of Irwin’s published and unpublished writing on postwar American art.

Black on White is on view at the Getty Center through March 18, 2012.

Julie Jaskol
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7607

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

About Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980
Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together for six months beginning in October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world. Each institution will make its own contribution to this grand-scale story of artistic innovation and social change, told through a multitude of simultaneous exhibitions and programs. Exploring and celebrating the significance of the crucial years after World War II through the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 70s, Pacific Standard Time encompasses developments from L.A. Pop to post-minimalism; from modernist architecture and design to multi-media installations; from the films of the African-American L.A. Rebellion to the feminist activities of the Woman’s Building; from ceramics to Chicano performance art; and from Japanese-American design to the pioneering work of artists’ collectives. Initiated through $10 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time involves cultural institutions of every size and character across Southern California, from Greater Los Angeles to San Diego and Santa Barbara to Palm Springs. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but $10 after 5 p.m. on Saturdays and for evening events. No reservations are required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305.The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California..

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