Dennis Oppenheim

Dennis Oppenheim first gained recognition for his Conceptual work in the 1960s and '70s, making Earth and body art, videos and performance pieces. An early practitioner of body art, Oppenheim often utilized his body as an art form, favoring brief, performative pieces over durable mediums such as painting or sculpture. As his career progressed, Oppenheim gave up body art in favor of large-scale, Conceptual sculpture and land art or earthworks. Inspired by architectural forms and grandiosity, his sculptures often incorporated moving industrial parts, casts of animals, uprooted buildings, water effects, and even fireworks.

Some of his famous large-scale, ephemeral outdoor projects included abstract formations carved in wheat fields, a gargantuan white square composed of salt, and an enormous pile of dirt with embedded wooden steps. Toward the end of his career, Oppenheim focused on making objects, installations, and public sculpture. The artist's sculptures were even commissioned for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Korea. Oppenheim died in 2011, and he is considered a pioneer in earthworks and Conceptual art.