Vancouver, Columbia Britannica, Canada
Dennis Oppenheim has been a pioneering artist in conceptualism, land art, body art, video, and sculpture since the late 1960s. Device to Root Out Evil is a 25-foot, tilted, upside-down, New England-style church with its steeple thrust into the ground and base raised up high as if to invite scrutiny from the heavens. It is one of the most recognized sculpture of the world today. Possessing demonic irony, this work rests uncomfortably between humor and terror, a middle ground that Oppenheim inhabited as an arena for continuous self-transformation. Initially titled Church, the sculpture was proposed to New York City’s Public Art Fund (with the location being Church Street). With the artwork’s name change to Device to Root Out Evil, Oppenheim represented the United States in the 1997 Venice Biennale. The Board of Regents at Stanford University approved the purchase of Device in 2003, a decision that was subsequently vetoed by Stanford’s president due to the artwork’s “inappropriate for campus.” Device to Root Out Evil was exhibited in Vancouver’s Harbour Green Park for the 2005 – 2007 Vancouver Biennale exhibition. In 2007, the Biennale organization awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.