ArtLex Art Dictionary



iinstallation or installation art - Art that is or has been installed arranged in a place either by the artist or as specified by the artist. It might be either site-specific or not, and either indoors or out. The term became widely used in the 1970s and 1980s, and continues to be employed by many people. Installations may be temporary or permanent, but most will be known to posterity through documentation. As a consequence, one aspect of installations is often the difficulty with which they can be commodified. Artists identified with installations include Walter De Maria (American, 1938-), Nancy Holt (American, 1938-) and Mary Miss (American, 1944-).




Joseph Beuys (German, 1921-1986), Plight, 1958/1985, installation: 43 rolls of felt, piano, black table, thermometer, 310 x 890 x 1813 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. See Fluxus.



see thumbnail to rightRobert Filliou (French, 1926-1987), 7 Childlike Uses of Warlike Material, 1970, installation of wood, metal, broken glass, various objects, tools, clothing, 182 x 400 x 90 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.



see thumbnail to leftRobert Filliou, Musique télépathique n° 5 (Telepathic Music #5), 1976-1978, installation of metal and cardboard, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. See Fluxus.





see thumbnail to rightDan Flavin (American, 1933-1996), Untitled, 1996, fluorescent light, Dia Center for the Arts, NY. This is a permanent installation of blue and green light in the two staircases, and exemplifies Flavin's subtle work in relation to a specific architectural context. It is Flavin's last of many works in fluorescent light.




see thumbnail to leftWalter De Maria (American, 1935-), The New York Earth Room, 1977, an interior earth sculpture: 250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters), 3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters), 22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters), total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos), Dia Center for the Arts, 141 Wooster Street, New York City.




see thumbnail to rightWalter De Maria (American, 1935-), The Broken Kilometer, 1979, 500 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The 500 rods are placed in five parallel rows of 100 rods each. The sculpture weighs 18 3/4 tons and would measure 3,280 feet if all the elements were laid end-to-end. Each rod is placed such that the spaces between the rods increase by 5 mm with each consecutive space, from front to back; the first two rods of each row are placed 80 mm apart, the last two rods are placed 580 mm apart. Dia Center for the Arts, 393 West Broadway in New York City.



see thumbnail to leftEva Hesse (American, born Germany, 1936-1970), Contingent , 1969, cheesecloth, latex, fiberglass, installation (variable) 350.0 x 630.0 x 109.0 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. See feminism and feminist art.



Bill Viola (American, 1951-), Room for St. John of the Cross, 1983, video installation, ed. of 1, dimensions variable, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


Gary Hill (American, 1951-), Inasmuch as it is Always Already Taking Place, 1990, 16 channel video installation (NTSC, black-and-white, sound) with 16 modified video monitors, synchronizer, and niche, collection of the artist. Sixteen picture tubes in various sizes are loosely arrayed in a jumble, and housed within a deep horizontal alcove at chest level. Each screen displays an image of a portion of the artist's body -- an upturned ear, a curled spine, a heaving chest -- magnified and bathed in a soft, blue glow. The spare movements of each bodily fragment are accompanied by the gentle sounds of rustling paper, hushed phrases, and the rubbing of skin, repeating endlessly in a closed loop. See self-portrait.



see thumbnail to rightRachel Whiteread (British, 1963-), Untitled (Paperbacks). 1997, plaster and steel, room installation, dimensions variable, Museum of Modern Art, NY. See feminism and feminist art.



Also see earth art, environment art, Fluxus, new media, and sculpture.



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