Architectural Cactus #6, 2008
Aluminum sheet, composite aluminum, diamond plate aluminum, colored corrugated aluminum, acrylic, fiberglass grating, galvanized steel base, stainless steel hardware
9 ft. x 72 in. x 8 ft. (274.3 x 182.9 x 243.8 cm)
Gift of The Watermill Center, New York, NY
Dennis Oppenheim, Photograph by Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
As evidenced in this work’s title, Dennis Oppenheim had a deep interest in both architecture and cacti. He once noted that he liked that cacti were both soft and hard, he liked the unpredictable shapes into which they grow, and he liked their prickly nature. Oppenheim created eighteen sculptures in his “Architectural Cactus” series, in six different shapes. The surface of each is designed in various colors and materials, so each sculpture is unique. The series was first produced as a public artwork for a location in the desert landscape of Scottsdale, Arizona. Its site across from a police station led Oppenheim—an artist whose work was frequently offbeat and humorous—to design these cactuses to suggest puzzle pieces fit together, like the clues that detectives piece together in the process of solving a crime.