Robert Barry. Inert Gas Series/Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon/From a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion. 1969

Robert Barry Inert Gas Series/Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon/From a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion 1969

  • Not on view

Testing the limits of materiality, Barry produced this poster for an exhibition that had neither a location nor a date. The address is a post-office box, and the telephone number for the gallery is an answering service with a recorded message describing the “work.” The work was the release, by the artist, of five measured volumes of odorless, colorless, noble gasses into the atmosphere in various locations surrounding Los Angeles, where they would diffuse and expand naturally into infinity.

While documentary photographs were taken of the action of the releases, the only physically tangible evidence of the work would remain the poster, published by the New York art dealer Seth Siegelaub, who stated, “He has done something and it’s definitely changing the world, however infinitesimally. He has put something into the world but you just can’t see it or measure it. Something real but imperceptible.”

Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.
Medium
Letterpress
Dimensions
sheet: 35 3/16 x 23 1/8" (89.3 x 58.8 cm)
Publisher
Seth Siegelaub, Los Angeles
Printer
Alphabets Unlimited, Hollywood, California
Edition
600
Credit
Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift
Object number
983.2007.x1-x3
Copyright
© 2021 Robert Barry
Department
Drawings and Prints

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