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Agnes Martin at LACMA
24 April, 2016
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Agnes Martin, the first and most comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work since 1992. This extensive exhibition covers the full breadth of Martin’s practice, revealing her early and little-known experiments with different media, and tracing the development of her work from biomorphic abstraction to the mesmerizing grids and striped canvases that became her hallmark.
A seminal artist of the 20th century and a pioneer of abstraction, Martin viewed her work as a pursuit of perfection, striving to instill every painting with “beauty, innocence, and happiness.”
Her style, though restrained, underscored her deep conviction in the emotive and expressive power of art. Martin’s development of the grid marked a crossroads in the history of abstract painting. The artist established a geometric and spatial language often by gently inscribing penciled lines over subtle fields of wash and color—a practice that she would persist in refining and reinterpreting over ensuing decades. A contemporary of the abstract expressionists, Martin was one of the few prominent female artists in the prevailingly masculine art world of the late 1950s and 1960s.
LACMA’s presentation of Agnes Martin is curated by Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of LACMA, with Jennifer King, associate curator, director’s office, and features nearly 100 objects including oil and acrylic paintings, multimedia pieces, watercolors and drawings, a print portfolio, and two sculptural works.
The retrospective originated at Tate Modern, London (June 3–October 11, 2015), where it was co-curated by Frances Morris, Director of Collection, International Art, and Tiffany Bell, Artifex Press Editor, Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné, before traveling to Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (November 7, 2015–March 6, 2016).
Following LACMA’s presentation (April 24–September 11, 2016), Agnes Martin concludes at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (October 7, 2016–January 11, 2017).