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Oral history interview with Doug Wheeler, 2017 April 4

Wheeler, Douglas, 1939-

Installation artist, Painter

Overview

Collection Information

Size: (5 hrs., 40 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 146 pages.

Summary: An interview with Doug Wheeler conducted 2017 April 4, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, for the Archives of American Art, at Drohojowska-Philp's home, in Los Angeles, California.

Doug Wheeler discusses his 2017 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, PSAD Synthetic Desert III; his relationship with the art dealer Doug Chrismas and the art collector Giuseppe Panza di Biumo; his residency in Boissano, Italy, and time there with his wife, Bridget Johnson; the impact of his experiences while flying in small airplanes and spending time in isolated desert environments on his sense of aesthetics and his art; his time at the Chouinard Art Institute as a student of Emerson Woelffer; his original interest in studying commercial art; his interactions with Robert Irwin and James Turrell. Wheeler also describes growing up in Globe, Arizona, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, and the early divorce of his parents; his father's career as a doctor in Arizona who flew airplanes to his patients, and his early exposure to flying; his time as a youngster working on ranches and spending time with other families; his experiences as a troublemaker in a social club at University High School in Los Angeles in the 1950s; working as a mechanical draftsman at Douglas Aircraft; his show with Larry Bell and Robert Irwin at the Tate Gallery, London, in 1970; his 2012-2016 installations at the David Zwirner gallery; his time away from the art world and work as a Hollywood screenwriter; his relocation to northern New Mexico, and the critical response to the Guggenheim PSAD Synthetic Desert III show. Wheeler also recalls Bill Moore, Larry Bell, Nancy Harrington, Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, Ed Ruscha, Ed Reep, Edwin Shneidman, Edy de Wilde as well as Coosje van Bruggen, Robert Graham, Leo Castelli, Irving Blum, Riko Mizuno, Christophe de Menil, Julia Brown, Hugh Davies, Dan Flavin among others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Doug Wheeler (1939- ) is an artist working with light, space, and sound in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Interviewer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp is an art critic and writer in Beverly Hills, California.

Provenance

This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

How to Use This Collection

Online access to this interview transcript is restricted. Access to the audio is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Doug Wheeler, 2017 April 4. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.