Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Doug Wheeler

Pin It

This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Doug Wheeler, one of the pioneers of light-and-space art. A major Wheeler was just acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, which featured Wheeler prominently in its light-and-space survey “Phenomenal.” The museum’s new Wheeler will be on view in downtown San Diego until August. A Wheeler ‘infinity environment’ installation is on view at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery, where visitors have routinely waited in line for an hour or longer to see the piece.

To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To download the program directly, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can stream the program through the player below.

Wheeler and I discuss:

  • What it’s like to be enjoying a remarkable late-career resurgence at age 72;
  • How he transitioned from making paintings to making room-sized environments, the light-and-space work for which he’s best known Dealer Irving Blum responded to Wheeler’s new direction by telling Wheeler that he wasn’t sure the light environments were art. Wheeler: “I remember feeling really good that someone wasn’t sure if it was art or not”;
  • How he dropped out of the art world for a decade or two, and what brought him back; and
  • His 1960s interactions with Robert Irwin and James Turrell and how that helped fuel light-and-space art.

In the show’s second segment, Helen A. Harrison, the director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center joins me to talk about a new exhibition she’s curated for the Archives of American Art in Washington. Titled “Memories Arrested in Space,” the show comes from the AAA’s collection and celebrates the 100th anniversary of Pollock’s birth.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. This week’s program was edited by Wilson Butterworth. For images of the works discussed on this week’s program, click through to the jump.

Doug Wheeler, SA MI 75 DZ NY 12 [three views], 2012.

Doug Wheeler, no title, 1969. Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Doug Wheeler, DW 68 VEN MCASD 11, 1968/2011. Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Large photograph not available: Doug Wheeler, Untitled (Light Encasement), 1968. Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Doug Wheeler, Untitled [with detail], 1964.

James Turrell, Afrum (White), 1966. Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Doug Wheeler, RM 669, 1969. Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Doug Wheeler, Untitled, 1965. Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Mrs. Helen K. Sellers fan letter to Jackson Pollock, photo of her son Manning, 1948. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

For more images from the Archives’s Pollock exhibition, click here.

Pin It


  1. […] ever done. You can download the show here, subscribe via iTunes here, and see images of the works discussed on the show here. « Friday exhib: Gauguin & Polynesia in Seattle Blog Home Links Tweet […]

  2. […] ‘infinity environment’ — the phrase seems to be Wheeler’s, but on this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast he said he’s no longer sure it’s a good one — is a space that Wheeler has altered […]

  3. […] Doug Wheeler Speaks – Tyler Green has pulled off the incredible coup of landing only the third interview ever with the revered artist, whose oneiric light installation at David Zwirner Gallery has drawn enormous lines. (MAN) […]

Add a Comment