Not on View

Theme for a Major Hit

Photo Credit: Michael Tropea, Chicago

Theme for a Major Hit

Artist: Dennis Oppenheim (American, 1938 - 2011)
Date: 1974-1996
Medium: Seven motor-driven marionettes, audio-tape, external speakers, wood, cloth, felt, cast resin, cam-operated, motor-driven mechanism for suspension
Dimensions:
Overall (each marionette): 31 × 13 3/4 × 5 1/2 in. (78.7 × 34.9 × 14 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Purchased with funds from the Edmundson Art Foundation, Inc., 1996.26.a-.g
Accession number: 1996.26.a-.g
Classification: sculpture
Copyright:© Dennis Oppenheim
In Collection(s)
Label TextTheme for a Major Hit traces its history to 1974. In that year, Oppenheim made a 24 inch tall motor-driven marionette with a face sculpted in his own likeness. The formally dressed marionette moves to a soundtrack with music. Later that year he made 10 additional figures which were stored by a dealer who went out of business. Fifteen years later the figures were made available to him.. Meanwhile he had made ten or twelve more, which were exhibited in varying combinations, but never all 12 together.. The Art Center's version of Theme for a Major Hit consists of seven marionettes and comes from a combination of these two groups. Oppenheim was born in 1938 and received his BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1965. After further study at Stanford University he moved to New York City in 1966. He has taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Yale University, and the Aspen Center for Contemporary Art. Source: News, January February 1977.
Exhibition History"From Body to Being: Reflections on the Human Image," Des Moines Art Center, Feb. 1 - May 4, 1997
Published ReferencesAN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. & color ill. p.217, color ill. pp.216 & 217
entirely unexpected