Daniel Buren, “Frost and Defrost,” a work in situ at Otis Art Institute, 1979

In 1979, Daniel Buren created a work in situ at the old Otis Art Institute Gallery in MacArthur Park. Titled “Frost and Defrost”, Buren removed 406 ceiling tiles from the gallery and glued green striped paper to the back of each panel. In a series of instructions, the tiles were strategically placed in “Room A” and “Room B” of the gallery, with the detritus of the installation to remain in its place.

Each day of the exhibition, 7 tiles from each room were returned to their place in the ceiling, beginning with the leftovers in Room B. Buren’s instructions even allocated days for the removal of remnants such as pens, tables, and ladders.

By the last day, all the tiles were reinstalled in the ceiling with the striped paper backing concealed by their placement.

Buren’s intention was that the gallery could be defrosted again by reversing the panels in their place to reveal another placement – the green paper stripes in a grid on the ceiling. Though it would be ideal if the piece remained in situ, it was likely destroyed when Otis moved and the space became part of the Charles White Elementary School.