Black on White
A wedge of black granite weighing 40,000 pounds, Black on White will extend from the Entrance Hall of the J. Paul Getty Museum into the courtyard. It was commissioned from Robert Irwin as part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative in honor of James N. Wood, the Trust’s former president and CEO, who passed away in June 2010.
Like all of Irwin’s work since the 1970s, this piece is site-conditional, organized conceptually and physically by the space in which it is installed. Just as architect Richard Meier considered the Getty rotunda as a lobby that encompasses both the indoors and the outdoors, Irwin’s sculpture literally moves from inside to outside, allowing the building’s glass wall to pass through its sculptural form. In conceiving Black on White, Irwin considered the rotunda’s light-filled space; as the light changes throughout the day, so does the surface quality of the polished granite. “It was a very big challenge to put a piece in that huge, heavily populated lobby and give it a commanding presence,” said Irwin. “I realized it had to be one gesture, and it had to be black, because everything else is white.”
Black on White will be on view at the Getty Center September 1, 2011 through March 18, 2012.