"It aint what you make, its what makes you do it." Theme for a Major Hit is the soundtrack to an installation with motor driven marionette, wood, cloth, felt, tape player & external speakers made in 1974 by Dennis Oppenheim. Recorded at Angel Sound, New York in 1974. This piece consists of 15 marionettes with the artist's face, dressed in felt suits. They are rigged to machinery that engages them in a jerky, disturbing dance to a soundtrack. Stepping into the room (and consequently stepping into the art itself, for the marionettes take full command of the space offered them) is like entering a deranged puppet show. Their words are difficult to discern, but the phrase "it ain't what you make, it's what makes you do it" is repeated through the music. This phrase represents the central theme of this show. The components of art, such as movement, sound, and color, are important, but it is the process of art and the meaning of that process that is the essential theme.
In this show, which displays Oppenheim's work from the last three decades, he explores the ideas of creation, destruction, and their place in art through large installations, photography, sculpture, and multimedia.
Since the 1960s, Dennis Oppenheim's practice has employed all available methods: writing, action, performance, video, film, photography, and installation (with and without sound or monologue). He has used mechanical and industrial elements, fireworks, common objects and traditional materials, materials of the earth, his own or another's body. He has created works for interior, exterior and public spaces. Rather than acting on an object, however, the artist stated his objective in a recent conversation with Bill Beckley: "You are operating on the operation, not the thing. When you are operating on the operation you have found a way to separate yourself from the things and you operate in a more intangible way."