Walter De Maria’s ‘The 2000 Sculpture’ Has a New Home

Walter De Maria’s monumental floor artwork The 2000 Sculpture has found a permanent home.

Now installed at the Bechtler Foundation in Uster, Switzerland, visitors will be greeted to an immersive set of 2000 white plaster units — each appearing uniform in size, but slightly differing in shape. There is a clear pattern that forms in De Maria’s arrangement that is based on their edges: 5-7-9-7-5-5-7-9-7-5. This rhythmic nod perhaps stems from the artist’s early days playing drums in the Primitives — a rock band formed in the 1960s by Lou Reed and John Cale, which is considered as a precursor to the Velvet Underground.

World renowned as a father of the Land Art movement, De Maria transcended the confines of the gallery walls by expanding the scale of his artwork to vast spaces that emphasized geometry and repetition. The 2000 Sculpture first went on view at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1992 and 18 years later at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin. After making a rare West Coast trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2012, Thomas and Cristina Bechtler met with the artist during the nearly 10-year preparation for The 2000 Sculpture at the Kunsthaus Zürich, which went on view last year.

Although Thomas was initially unsuccessful in campaigning to buy the artwork for the Kunsthaus Zürich’s permanent collection, he along with Ruedi Bechtler, ended up buying the piece for the Walter A. Bechtler Foundation — completed this year, and which now prominently showcases the horizontal installation in one of its new exhibition spaces.

During his lifetime, De Maria was insistent that The 2000 Sculpture only be exhibited during the daytime. This emphasis on light is integral to the experience of the artwork, which subtly changes according to the time of day and position of the viewer. As one of the largest horizontal floor sculptures to ever be exhibited in the world, The 2000 Sculpture is a captivating artwork that should be experienced more than once. The 500 square-meter artwork, according to curator Harald Szeemann, embodies this “new quality of today’s sculpture, which should no longer be an object, but rather a subject that shapes the surrounding space and fulfills it”.

Visit the Bechtler Foundation’s website for more information on the installation, along with new exhibitions.

Elsewhere, Tavares Strachan presents In Broad Daylight at Perrotin.

Bechtler Foundation
Weiherweg 18610 Uster,
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