"My art has never been about ideas… My interest in art has never been about abstraction; it has always been about experience… My pieces were never meant to be dealt with intellectually as ideas, but to be considered experientially." - Robert Irwin, Reshaping the Shape of ThingsRobert Irwin ('50) was born in Long Beach, California, in 1928, and has exhibited widely in museums and galleries in North America and abroad since his first solo exhibition in 1957. In 1984, Irwin received a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1993, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles initiated a major retrospective of his work, which traveled to Paris, Madrid, and Cologne.
Among his numerous public projects, the most recent is the monumental garden he designed for the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which opened in 1997. He also consulted on the master plan for Dia:Beacon in N.Y. He currently lives and works in San Diego.As Los Angles County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan explains, "Irwin's early development moves along a reductive trajectory, from Abstract Expressionist painting in the late 1950s, to more rigorously optical hand-painted line and dot paintings, to metal and plastic circular discs and prismatic columns that nearly dissolve visually at the same time that they channel and shape the light and space around them. Finally, in the early 1970s, Irwin eschewed the discrete object entirely in favor of totally environmental works that involved modifying and augmenting indoor and outdoor spaces themselves."