Glen Seator


Not on view



Wood, steel, plasterboard, glass, electrical fittings, carpet and paint

Overall: 195 × 160 × 250in. (495.3 × 406.4 × 635 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate


For the Whitney’s 1997 Biennial exhibition, Glen Seator dismantled the director’s office (already scheduled for demolition as part of a museum expansion project), and then meticulously rebuilt the space as a sculptural installation on the Museum’s fourth floor. B.D.O.—an abbreviation of “Biennial. Director’s Office”—is characteristic of Seator’s method of replicating built spaces in a slightly altered physical context in order to draw attention to their subliminal formal and social qualities. For B.D.O., Seator tipped the boxlike, 12,000-pound sculpture at a 30-degree angle, creating a simultaneous illusion of weightlessness and imminent collapse. Visitors could look into the room through its doorway and window to see the office’s teak wall treatments and working light fixtures, all part of architect Marcel Breuer’s original design for the Museum building. By situating the director’s office in a public gallery, Seator draws attention to the behind-the-scenes activities of the institution and to the sometimes elegant settings in which those activities take place. He also reminds us that every artwork in a museum is not only an aesthetic enterprise, but also a product of the time and place of its making.