Aluminum, paint and glass, 1967
72 x 72 x 144 inches
Gift of the LAM Contemporary Collectors Council
Houdin’s House (1967) was exhibited the year it was made in the expansive American Sculpture of the Sixties exhibition organized by Maurice Tuchman jointly for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The name Houdin refers not to Harry Houdini but to the founder of modern magic, the Frenchman Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. It also refers to the ninety-degree angles commonly used by magicians to create an illusion of something being where it is not, or something not being where it is. In the case of Houdin’s House, that illusion is a floating lady.
True to Delap’s thinking, Houdin’s House—that is, its physical existence as an object—is much less important than the illusion it creates. To that point, the current version was re-fabricated for the 1994 exhibition at California State University, Fullerton, titled Tony DeLap, The House of the Magician: An Installation of Reconstructed Works from 1967–1979.