Doug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, through August 2, 2017

“The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents the first-ever realized work from a group of installations conceived by Doug Wheeler during the late 1960s and ’70s: Doug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III. Produced in close collaboration with the artist, the Guggenheim installation is developed from drawings executed in 1968 and will be on view in the museum’s Tower Level 7. In addition to the architectural modification of an existing room to achieve an optical impression of empty space, which is a familiar element in other works by Wheeler, PSAD Synthetic Desert III is also a semi-anaechoic chamber: a space designed to suppress all but the lowest levels of ambient sound. Into this profound silence other sound will then be introduced. The two elements—optical and acoustic—transform the museum gallery into a world apart. Wheeler compares the impact of the work to his own experience in the deserts of northern Arizona, where near-silent conditions deeply influence the visual and felt sensation of space.” — Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Doug Wheeler in the Painted Desert, Arizona, ca. 1970. Courtesy the artist. © Doug Wheeler

Doug Wheeler. PSAD Synthetic Desert III, 1971. Ink on paper, 61.1 x 91.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Panza Collection, Gift, 1991 © Doug Wheeler

Doug Wheeler. PSAD Synthetic Desert III, 1971 (detail). Ink on paper, 61.1 x 91.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Panza Collection, Gift, 1991 © Doug Wheeler

Synthetic Desert Sound Map, 2017. Ink & colored pencil on drafting film, 33 x 28 inches. Working Drawing for Mapping Sound Program in PSAD Synthetic Desert III, 1968 © Doug Wheeler

Installation view: Doug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, March 24–August 2, 2017. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationDoug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III is organized by Jeffrey Weiss, Senior Curator, and

Doug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III is organized by Jeffrey Weiss, Senior Curator, and Francesca Esmay, Conservator, Panza Collection, with Melanie Taylor, Director, Exhibition Design, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. To realize the artwork, the museum is working closely with Raj Patel and Joseph Digerness of Arup, a design firm that specializes in the acoustic properties of built space. The presentation is executed in conjunction with the Guggenheim’s Panza Collection Initiative, an ongoing study devoted to questions around fabrication and installation of Minimal, Post-Minimal, and Conceptual art.

Images courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.