Doug Wheeler
PSAD Synthetic Desert III
2017
Realized for the first time at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York
Doug Wheeler
Installation view of PSAD Synthetic Desert III at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2017)
Doug Wheeler
Installation view of PSAD Synthetic Desert III at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2017)
Doug Wheeler
Installation view of PSAD Synthetic Desert III at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2017)
Doug Wheeler
PSAD Synthetic Desert III, 1968
61.1 x 91.4 cm

March 24 - August 2

PSAD Synthetic Desert III belongs to a yet-to-be-realized series of installations conceived by Doug Wheeler during the late 1960s and 1970s. This work was originally acquired by the Italian collector Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, and is included in the Panza Collection at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

In this work, Wheeler altered the structure and configuration of a museum gallery in order to control optical and acoustic experience. Upon entering, the visitor was immersed in a hermetic realm: a semi-anechoic chamber designed to induce a sensate impression of infinite space. Wheeler likens this sensation of light and sound to the perception of vast space in the deserts of northern Arizona. While PSAD Synthetic Desert III is deeply grounded in the artist's experience of the natural world, the work does not describe the landscape. Its form is abstract.

The Guggenheim installation, produced in close collaboration with the artist, was the first time any work in this series has been exhibited.

Read more: Wheeler spoke with Alex Bacon about the exhibition for Artforum 500 Words. The artist was profiled in The New York Times in 2012.