By BRIDGET L. GOODBODY
Published: April 25, 2007
New York Times
The provocative Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland retrospective at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery highlights the decade when Minimalism morphed into Conceptualism. What you’ll discover here is a manifesto, albeit a high-minded one, that represents the decade (1966-1976) when artists thought they could change the world not by filling it with new stories, but by emptying it of them.
…Like Mr. Duchamp (and John Cage, Max Ernst and Man Ray, among others), Mr. O’Doherty found inspiration in chess. Unlike him, Mr. O’Doherty used it to explore Minimalism’s grid. He started by making drawings, some on view here, that turned the grammar of the chess pieces’ moves into linear fretworks.
Because he saw the movement of the pieces as labyrinthine, he started to make actual, human-size labyrinths, a form also cherished by his contemporaries Alice Aycock, Robert Morris, Tony Smith and Robert Smithson, among others.
Conceptually, it’s not a big leap from the chessboards and labyrinths (some took the form of a St. Brigid’s Cross) to Mr. O’Doherty’s sculptural series based on the Ogham script, an ancient Celtic notational language system.
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