Skip to main content

Dennis Oppenheim

Echo
1973

Not on view

Date
1973

Classification
Installations

Medium
Four-screen 16mm film installation, black-and-white, sound, looped, transferred to video

Dimensions
Dimensions variable

Accession number
2002.85

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Partial gift of the artist and partial purchase, with funds from the Film and Video Committee

Rights and reproductions
Courtesy of the artist

Echo comprises four black-and-white film loops that are projected simultaneously onto the four walls of an exhibition space. In each loop, Dennis Oppenheim uses his body as both a material and a tool, slapping the gallery walls with his hand in a paring down of the language of mark-making to its most simple form: the surface of the artist’s body meeting the surface of the artwork’s support. Like many artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Oppenheim created works that sought to transcend the gallery walls, which seemed to symbolize physical and psychological restriction. In Echo, he used the body’s most elemental force—its energy—to call attention to the boundaries of the gallery space. These boundaries are further emphasized by the soundtrack of four loud echoes ricocheting around the room. The reverberations form a trace of Oppenheim's slapping movements, articulating the shape of the gallery in aural terms and asserting a desire to burst through its physical limits—a goal that was central to many of the artist’s early projects in Body art, Earth art, performance, and film. 





Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.