Chinati Foundation Receives Grant to Support New Robert Irwin Installation

Installation view of Robert Irwin's untitled (Four Walls), 2006, at the Chinati Foundation.

Installation view of Robert Irwin’s untitled (Four Walls), 2006, at the Chinati Foundation.


The Chinati Foundation has received $750,000 from the Lannan Foundation to support the Robert Irwin Project, Chinati’s chairman of the board Andrew Cogan announced today. The project, for which construction will begin this summer, will result in the building of a new installation by Robert Irwin, the Californian artist known for making work about perception, light, and space. It is expected to open next year.

The Robert Irwin Project was priced at $5 million, and the $750,000 from the Lannan Foundation matches the $3.7 million that Chinati was able to raise over the course of three months at the end of 2014. In addition to the months Chinati spent raising money for the project, Irwin has spent 14 years developing the installation.

The work will be a 100-square-foot, U-shaped structure that is meant to be experienced in “halves,” as Irwin puts it. Half of the U will be dark, while the other half will be light. Tinted windows will allow various amounts of light to come in. Connecting the U will be a series of a scrim walls with eye-level windows in them, creating what Irwin calls a “Dutch landscape-like view of the surrounding West Texas fields and sky.” Built at an abandoned Army hospital from the ’30s, the installation will also involve landscaping the building’s courtyard.

Based in Marfa, Texas, and founded by Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd, Chinati is known for exhibiting large-scale installations. The Robert Irwin installation will be Chinati’s first addition to the collection since Carl Andre’s 2010 project Chinati Thirteener, a work made of 13 steel strips and a bed of pebbles.

Chinati’s new project will be the most notable installation of a Robert Irwin work since the Whitney Museum of American Art’s reinstallation of his 1977 site-specific project Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The project marks the second time Irwin has collaborated with Chinati—in 2006, he made a site-specific work to coincide with an exhibition of his drawings.

The Robert Irwin Project is one of two major Irwin installations coming soon. In June, Dia:Beacon will restage Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square³, a site-specific installation originally designed for Dia’s Chelsea location in 1998. Because Irwin designed the master plan for Dia:Beacon, the installation is a homecoming of sorts.

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