Sirius Art Centre presents Brian O'Doherty: Reading Time from March 11 to June 10, 2023.
Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, is showcasing an exhibition by the renowned Irish artist Brian O’Doherty. Titled Reading Time, it is the first exhibition since O’Doherty’s passing on November 7, 2022. The exhibition’s works are layered in time and space and explore Irish history and literature as a medium that unfolds durationally. The exhibit features a selection of drawings, prints, sculptures, and installations borrowed from Irish museums and private collections, emphasizing O’Doherty’s key themes: self, language, perception, and ideology.
O’Doherty was born in Ireland in 1928 and emigrated to the United States in 1957. He furthered his studies at Harvard University, eventually embarking on an art-related career. In the 1960s, he became a notable figure in the New York art scene, serving various functions that served his vision of art’s importance in society. He was influential in reflecting on the institution and advancing institutional critique, examining the interplay of word and image.
The building that houses Sirius Arts Centre was the former clubhouse of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, built by and for the Anglo-Irish in the 1850s. For O’Doherty, issues surrounding identities became urgent after he arrived in New York, as he was exiled. The building arguably symbolized Ireland’s social divides for most of his life. O’Doherty departed Ireland from Cobh, like many other Irish emigrants. O’Doherty’s recent death makes the existence of a permanent set of colorful, floor-to-ceiling wall paintings at Sirius Arts Centre all the more poignant. Completed in 1996, during a residency, the work, titled One, Here, Now, references Ogham, an ancient alphabet once popular in Ireland that O’Doherty used across his oeuvre.
In his “Inside the White Cube” essays published in Artforum in 1976, O’Doherty problematized the supposed “neutrality” of art. He argued that the spare and pristine white walls of galleries, as much as the works shown there, have defined what art is. O’Doherty saw such features invested with political and economic agendas. Sirius Arts Centre, as both an institution operating in the art sector and the former clubhouse of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, is inevitably entangled in these realities. It is thus fitting that O’Doherty filled its white walls with color, and it is ironic that his mural has lived, for most of its existence, hidden.
O’Doherty’s links to Ireland extend through the layers of Sirius Arts Centre and along and across the time he lived. This exhibition “reads” his practice in and through time, highlighting the vital relationship that he establishes with each and every one of us, here and now. The exhibit is guest-curated by Christa-Marie Lerm Hayes, in dialogue with Miguel Amado, director. The exhibition is produced by Sirius Arts Centre and is a must-see for those interested in exploring the history and legacy of Irish art.
March 11, 3–5pm
Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, Brenda Moore-McCann, and Sarah Wilson in conversation
Scholars Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, Brenda Moore-McCann, and Sarah Wilson discuss Brian O’Doherty’s practice, from his former Patrick Ireland moniker to his institutional critique and the legacy of his ideas, writings, and works.
About Sirius Arts Centre
Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, approaches art through the lens of society. It organizes focused, artist-driven projects and collaborative, community-oriented projects. It facilitates the production and presentation of, and public engagement with, art and knowledge, and offers professional development opportunities to artists through commissions and residencies. It operates across all art forms—visual, performing, live, film, sound, vocal, written, and born-digital—programming a mix of exhibitions, performances, events, activities, and publications both on-site and online.