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 Brian (Patrick Ireland) O'Doherty  (1934 - )

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Lived/Active: New York / Ireland      Known for: installations, abstract drawing, conceptualism

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An example of work by Brian (Patrick Ireland) O'Doherty
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Brian O'Doherty, a pioneer of the 1960s Conceptual art movement, has operated in the public art arena as two personalities or a split ego:  One persona is named Brian O'Doherty, and the other is Patrick Ireland.  O'Doherty, the birth surname, has been a teacher, writer and publisher, but largely created his artwork under the name of Patrick Ireland, "the alter ego he created in response to the 1972 Derry Massacre in Northern Ireland, when British soldiers killed 13 Irish civilians."

At that time the Irish-born Brian O'Doherty was in New York City, having been in the U.S. since 1957, and was feeling very helpless for his native people.  He determined to sign the name of Patrick Ireland to his artwork "until the British military is removed from Northern Ireland and all citizens are given their civil rights."

When he made this decision, Lee Krasner, New York artist and widow of Jackson Pollock, told O'Doherty that he would never get his name back.  But now, thirty years later, O'Doherty has determined to consolidate his personalities and reclaim his real name for his artwork.

With the political resolutions of the summer of 2007, O'Doherty is ready to abandon Patrick Ireland.  He will turn that death process into conceptual art with a ceremony from the 18th to the 20th of May that will involved an effigy of Ireland dressed in white with a death mask created by Charles Simonds.  Ireland's effigy will lie in state in a coffin at Dublin's Irish Museum of Modern Art and will be carried to Bully's Acre Graveyard on the museum grounds.  Michael Rush, a former Jesuit priest, will preside over the burial, "which will feature graveside speeches and poetry recitals in five languages."  Other Irish artists such as Alana O'Kelly will be involved by contributing video presentations, doing Irish 'keening', which is a combination of singing and wailing, etc.

Of this transition of coming back to just being himself as one person, O'Doherty says:  "My signature will be different, but that's all."

Source:
Ann-Marie Michel, "Leaving Patrick in Ireland", ARTnews, May 2008, p. 50

Compiled by Lonnie Dunbier


Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Holding degrees from University College, Dublin and Harvard,  Patrick Ireland /Brian O'Doherty is a protean figure in several contemporary cultural worlds.  A participant in the development of the Conceptual art movement, his art is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.   It has been shown at the Venice Biennale and at the quadrennial international exhibitions Documenta, in Kassel, Germany, and Rosc, in Dublin.  He has had over 40 one-person exhibitions in this country and Europe.

Comprising installations, painting and sculpture, Ireland's work often involves elements of language, and uses colors, which one critic has described as "vibrant, luminescent." He has been a friend of some of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp.  Since 1972, he has exhibited his work under the name Patrick Ireland "until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland."

The author of three books on art and one novel, O'Doherty is a former art critic for The New York Times and former editor-in-chief of the magazine Art in America.  His essays published as "Inside the White Cube" have made the phrase "white cube" part of the everyday international discourse on museums and galleries.

His credits include a documentary on Edward Hopper, Hopper's Silence, the winner of several awards.  In addition to his other activities, two years ago he finished 19 years as director of film, radio and television programs at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he encouraged independent film and video artists and developed and/or supported PBS series like "American Masters," "The Metropolitan (Opera) Presents," "Great Performances," "P.O.V." and "American Cinema."

Since 1969 he has taught art writing and the art film at Barnard College, Columbia University as an adjunct professor.

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