Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

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Remembering Robert Irwin (1928–2023)
Black and white image of artist Robert Irwin in front of his installation

Following the news of the passing of artist Robert Irwin, we hope you consider the following statement by MCASD The David C. Copley Director and CEO Kathryn Kanjo:

Robert Irwin’s passing will be felt across the art world and is especially poignant in our community and at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. His work is foundational to a certain West Coast minimalism, referred to as Light and Space. Deeply engaged with the limits and nuances of perception, he complicated the boundaries between art and its environment, coining the term, site-conditional. Irwin was a longtime resident of San Diego, where his legacy will live on. Similarly, his history with our organization can be felt throughout our galleries and in our hearts. He first had a solo exhibition at MCASD in 1969 and a career retrospective in 2007. MCASD is honored to have the largest holdings of Irwin’s artwork, including his early abstract canvases, drawings and public art proposals, and several installations. More than one dozen of his works are on long term view at the expanded La Jolla site. Indeed, in September 2021, just prior to the Museum’s reopening, Bob oversaw the placement of Spanish Fan (1995), a radiant glass sculpture in our outdoor sculpture garden. A gift of the artist, the piece is a permanent reminder of his talent and generosity. It joins one of the artist’s most beloved and recognizable site-conditional installations, 1° 2° 3° 4°. In a subtle but transformative gesture, the artist cuts into the gallery’s windows opening the interior space to the exterior beyond. Light, air, sea, and sound blend in visual, spatial and sensorial wonder. This installation reflects so many of the unexpected ways in which Irwin makes us ever more aware of the world around us.


The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the region’s foremost forum devoted to the exploration and presentation of the art of today. Open since 1941, we welcome all audiences to reflect on their lives, communities, and the ever-changing world through the powerful prism of contemporary art. Between two MCASD locations — one in the heart of downtown San Diego and the other in the coastal community of La Jolla — we showcase an internationally-recognized collection. MCASD’s dynamic exhibition schedule features a vast array of media in an unprecedented variety of spaces, along with a growing dedication to community experiences and public programs. As a cultural hub, MCASD seeks to catalyze conversation in our region.

For images, click here.

Media Contact: Toni Robin,


Image of Robert Irwin's famous installation 1° 2° 3° 4°, where he cut three squares into the windows facing the Pacific Ocean

Robert Irwin, "1º 2 º 3 º 4º," 1997.