This was a real conversation I had with one of my friends when we recently visited LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum.
“Who decided this was art? I could draw a bunch of lines on a piece of paper!”
“Yes, but have you done so?”
“Well, she has, and that is why she is here at LACMA.”
Canadian born Agnes Martin walked away from her notoriety in the art world by moving away from the art she was becoming known for (see her 1955 work, “Untitled” oil on canvas piece, pictured above), her New York City art studio and the Big Apple art scene in 1967. Martin chose to travel around the United States and Canada, ultimately settling in New Mexico, wherein she returned to her life as an artist from 1973 until her death in 2004. During this time, Martin created art in silence and solitude, all while deciding to constrict her art form through the conventional and personal variations of what she interprets as “lines”.
More about Martin’s biography can be found here and here, but I must say that it is well worth the experience to admire Martin’s work in person. The personal discipline, stamina and vision it took for her to convey the notion of lines alone is mesmerizing. Here are some samples of what is on display at LACMA.
Not pictured but well worth the visit (or at least the conversation): the larger-than-life Untitled acrylic and graphite piece wherein my friend and I swore was a chiseled slab of concrete. Minimalist Art at its finest, indeed.
Please visit Martin’s first retrospective now before the exhibition closes after September 11, 2016.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), Level 3
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
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