Doug Wheeler

Art, Contemporary art
Doug Wheeler, DW 68 VEN MCASD 11, 1968/2011
Photograph: Philipp Scholz Rittermann, © Doug Wheeler, courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

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A left-coast spin-off of 1960s Minimalism, the California Light and Space movement was notable for a wow-man aesthetic most familiar to New Yorkers through the work of James Turrell—the biggest name to have emerged from the group. Until recently, Doug Wheeler was among the lesser known Light and Space artists, though his profile has risen considerably since 2017, when he mounted a project at the Guggenheim Museum that had taken 50 years to realize. Like Turrell, Wheeler leans hard into a sensual, site-specific aesthetic based on a sort of optical legerdemain in which lighting and architecture are used to play tricks on viewer’s experience of the gallery. The same is true of Wheeler’s latest immersive installations at David Zwirner, in which neon lighting, sheetrock and expanses of stretched scrim fabric are combined to transform the gallery into a luminous illusion that confounds the viewer's sense of perception.




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