Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473 opens February 4, 2017

Wed, Oct 12, 2016

Columbus, OhioFebruary 4 – April 16, 2017, the Wexner Center for the Arts will debut S-337473, an exhibition featuring a newly commissioned work by Sarah Oppenheimer, an artist who defies categorization, straddling art, architecture, engineering, and beyond.

S-337473, conceived for the Wex, transforms circulatory paths between and within the center’s galleries into a temporally changing architectural plan. Comprised of two large-scale glass switches, S-337473 rotates in response to engagement with the active visitor: thresholds turn into beams, columns become screens. The exhibition space is reoriented around new axes, altering the flow of bodies and ricochet of sightlines through the built environment.

The mechanical detail underpinning the motion of S-337473 is a product of Oppenheimer’s two years as a Wexner Residency Artist. During her residency, Oppenheimer collaborated with the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at The Ohio State University to develop the kinematics of a new pivot mechanism. Unlike the more familiar pivots embedded in conventional doors and windows, the rotational axis of S-337473 runs diagonally through its material planes. Glass and aluminum surfaces rotate around this bias axis, creating a torqued transition between the Wexner’s vertical and horizontal grids. Static spatial markers become active spatial switches. S-337473 re-organizes the perceived limits of the architectural envelope, thereby shifting the viewers’ linear procession into an act of engaged navigation.

Notes Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin, “Sarah Oppenheimer harnesses and fluidly navigates vital (if rarely noted) intersections between artistic and scientific inquiry, forging a creative practice that is entirely sui generis. Gravitating as she often does toward particularly complex built environments, she found the Wexner Center’s Eisenman building irresistible, and it’s been fascinating to observe her meticulous investigation of our galleries with an eye toward at once confounding and re-illuminating everything we thought we knew.”

Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473 is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, and curated by Megan Cavanaugh, the center’s Director of Exhibitions Management. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue designed by the Wexner Center and published by Distributed Art Publishers. It will include photography of the work in situ at the Wex, along with newly commissioned essays by some of the most innovative scholars of the moment, including Alexander R. Galloway, professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University; and Laurent Stalder, Chair for the Theory of Architecture at ETH Zurich.


Born in 1972 in Austin, Texas, Sarah Oppenheimer received an MFA from Yale University. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the Drawing Center, New York; Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; Queens Museum of Art; St. Louis Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Kunsthaus Baselland; Mudam Luxembourg; and the Perez Art Museum in Miami.

Oppenheimer has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome (2010-2011); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2009); the Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). Oppenheimer’s studio is based in New York, and she also serves as a senior critic at the Yale School of Art.


A conversation between the artist and Laurent Stalder, who contributed an essay to the catalogue, is scheduled to take place at the exhibition’s opening reception on February 3, 2017. Additional gallery talks are being planned in conjunction with faculty from across The Ohio State University.

Free and low-cost programs at the Wexner Center are presented with support from Huntington Bank and Cardinal Health Foundation.
The Wexner Center receives general operating support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. Generous support is also provided by the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.