Dennis Oppenheim

(USA, 1938-2011)

In a second work (distinct from The Last Dance) installed at the then recently constructed California Center for the Arts, Oppenheim constructed an installation of reindeer connected by propane tanks and tubes that provided the gas fire emanating from the reindeer’s horns. The installation was created specifically for the center’s Sky Gallery, an intimate exhibition space with a twenty-five-foot ceiling.

Curator: Reesey Shaw
Organizer: California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Venue: California Center for the Arts Museum, Escondido



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Known for his kinetic, conceptual, and highly imaginative works, New York artist Dennis Oppenheim created an installation entitled The Last Dance/La última danza for a gallery space at the Children’s Museum/Museo de los Niños of San Diego. The piece consisted of four pairs of cacti forms spinning together in a disjointed dance to a cacophony of music emitted from a number of 1940s radios, a record player, and a bass drum randomly beaten by a mechanized pedal. The seeming chaos of the disharmonious music and the spinning cacti figures—that both strive for closeness, yet at the same time present harm to each other—suggests relationship, especially between two cultures, where elements come together, sometimes clash, and always intertwine.

Curator: Lynda Forsha
Organizers: Children’s Museum/Museo de los Niños and Installation Gallery
Venues: Children’s Museum/Museo de los Niños, San Diego

Dennis Oppenheim, The Last Dance, inSITE94 (interview).