Formula Compound, A Combustion Chamber, An Exorcism by Dennis Oppenheim

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a tree fell on the sculpture and the artist instructed it to be left there
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Formula Compound, A Combustion Chamber, An Exorcism (From the Fireworks Series) by Dennis Oppenheim at the Gori Collection in Italy, 1982

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When I was working on an article on tips for taking children to art parks for ArtTrav, I asked my five year old what was his favorite artwork he had seen at an art park. With very little pause, he answered, “The firework machine…” and continued to expand on how it was reminded him of the structures and explosions in Angry Birds. The connection was unexpected, but not as surprising as his confident analysis.  This was the first time he talked about art in terms of his preschool world. I was glowing with mom pride and ready to fly back to Italy the next day.

He was referring to “Formula Compound (A Combustion Chamber) (An Exoricism) #2” by Dennis Oppenheim at the Fattoria di Celle in Italy. It is one of five sculptures in Oppenheim’s “Fireworks Series,” and it is the only one that was not ignited. One was ignited for Creative Time’s 1982 event Art of the Beach, a group exhibition in Manhattan. In 1984, “Newton Discovering Gravity” was ignited near Buffalo, New York at Artpark. Two additional firework armatures were created for the Seattle Art Museum and the Bonlow Gallery in the 80s. See more about his work at http://www.dennis-oppenheim.com

Dennis Oppenheim Formula Compound #1, A Combustion Chamber: An Exorcism from the 'Fireworks' series 1982 Battery Park, New York via Art Monthly
Dennis Oppenheim Formula Compound #1, A Combustion Chamber: An Exorcism from the ‘Fireworks’ series 1982 Battery Park, New York via Art Monthly
Newton Discovering Gravity 1984 24' H x 23' W x 23' D Aluminum, steel, baked enamel, corrugated steel, perforated steel, galvanized steel, steel pipe, bearings, cement foundation Artpark, Lewison, New York via Dennis Oppenheim's studio website
Newton Discovering Gravity 1984 24′ H x 23′ W x 23′ D Aluminum, steel, baked enamel, corrugated steel, perforated steel, galvanized steel, steel pipe, bearings, cement foundation Artpark, Lewison, New York via Dennis Oppenheim’s studio website
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Reading in my backyard. Image from the catalog, ArtPark 1974-1984. Exhibition that was included in BIWNY biennial when I created an installation at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center


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