Artist Robert Irwin’s work in the last five decades has investigated perception and the experience of art. With Miracle Mile, Irwin reconsiders the properties of light, material, and color. The site-specific work subtly plays with the architecture in which it is housed and responds to both Wilshire Boulevard (the storied thoroughfare it faces) and Primal Palm Garden (an outdoor installation created by Irwin in 2008). A linear configuration composed of 66 fluorescent tubes, the work stretches to a length of approximately 36 feet and can be experienced both from within and beyond the gallery walls.
Each tube is wrapped with colored gels, varying in hue from bright to muted. The treatment suppresses or increases the luminosity of the lamp and blurs the spectrum of color that is cast. Varying states of light and shadow, shallowness and depth, and presence and absence play with perception.
Irwin has stated, “As artists, the one true inquiry of art as a pure subject is an inquiry of our potential to know the world around us and our actively being in it, with a particular emphasis on the aesthetic. This world is not just somehow given to us whole. We perceive, we shape the world, and as artists we discover and give value to our human potential to "see" the infinite richness (beauty?) in everything, creating an extended aesthetic reality.”
LACMA has collected the work of Robert Irwin since the early 1960s. Most recently the museum commissioned Palm Garden, which surrounds LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion.
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Robert Irwin, Miracle Mile, 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Hyundai Motor as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA in honor of the museum's 50th anniversary, © Robert Irwin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo © Philipp Scholz Rittermann