ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 1/22/2019

We can't get enough of Mahesh Shantaram's 'Matrimania'

DATE 1/21/2019

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with 'Builder Levy: Humanity in the Streets'

DATE 1/18/2019

Lynda Benglis on "philosopher purist" Paul Mogensen

DATE 1/17/2019

'Cabin Fever' is one of the coolest, most giftable books on our list this year

DATE 1/16/2019

Three emerging painters in 'True Colours'

DATE 1/15/2019

Hans J. Wegner and other masters of Danish "golden-age" chair design are collected in this chic compendium

DATE 1/14/2019

Painting as emancipation in Niko Pirosmani

DATE 1/13/2019

Opera and nature in Beatriz Milhazes's collages

DATE 1/12/2019

Impossible not to love: 'Beatriz Milhazes: Collages'

DATE 1/12/2019

Commemorate Black History Month with these 2019 Staff Picks

DATE 1/11/2019

'Shtetl in the Sun' is a Staff Favorite for 2019

DATE 1/10/2019

An awkward, spellbinding document, 'Party! Party!! Party!!!' captures unselfconscious German decadence in Weimar Germany

DATE 1/9/2019

Ahh, the freedom in Frank Habicht's Sixties

DATE 1/9/2019

Ed Templeton signing 'Tangentially Parenthetical' at Park Life

DATE 1/5/2019

Joshua Sperling to launch "A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger" at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

DATE 1/4/2019

Janet Clare to launch "Time is the Longest Distance" at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

DATE 1/1/2019

The Class of 2018: Critics' Picks and Future Backlist Classics

DATE 12/21/2018

May the new year bring you unfathomable adventure! Happy holidays from ARTBOOK | D.A.P.

DATE 12/19/2018

What to give the photographer who has everything

DATE 12/18/2018

A facsimile of a rare 1900 children's book of 'Elfin Rhymes' is new from Art / Books

DATE 12/17/2018

Every day is a “ME” day with Sherrie Levine's 'Diary 2019'

DATE 12/16/2018

James Welling captures the culture of MoMA's Sculpture Garden in 'Oasis in the City'

DATE 12/16/2018

Give 'Michael Jackson: On the Wall' to the art and music lover on your list!

DATE 12/15/2018

Book trailer magic: 'Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin'

DATE 12/14/2018

A remarkable new monograph from Tod Papageorge is one of our Staff Pick Holiday Gift Books, 2018!

DATE 12/13/2018

Ruin the Yuletide with 'We Do Christmas'!

DATE 12/12/2018

A smile is the only possible outcome to 'Robots 1:1'

DATE 12/11/2018

Hard to Read presents 'The Disco Files' at Le Bain with Vince Aletti, Matthew Higgs, Danny Krivit and others!

DATE 12/11/2018

"Sweet dreams, kiddies."
—Love, R. Crumb

DATE 12/10/2018

Shopping for a playful design sophisticate? Look no further!

DATE 12/8/2018

Experimentation and contemplation in 'Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin'

DATE 12/7/2018

Back in Stock! 'Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92'

DATE 12/6/2018

Join Artbook @ Art Basel Miami Beach 2018!

DATE 12/6/2018

'The Swimming Pool in Photography' is a Staff Favorite Holiday Gift Book, 2018

DATE 12/5/2018

'The Moon: From Inner Worlds to Outer Space' is a Staff Pick Holiday Gift for Stargazers

DATE 12/4/2018

Coleen Sterritt book launch at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Bookstore, LA

DATE 12/4/2018

Luc Sante picks 'Shomei Tomatsu' for the 'New York Times Book Review' Holiday Gift Guide

DATE 12/3/2018

We ❤️ Karen Green's 'Frail Sister'

DATE 12/3/2018

Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes' 'Sweet Flypaper of Life' featured in The New York Times Book Review

DATE 12/2/2018

Precog Mag launch, screening and performance at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 12/2/2018

MoMA PS1 Book Space launches 'Bricks from the Kiln' #3

DATE 12/1/2018

Design as an Attitude: Alice Rawsthorn in Conversation with Paola Antonelli at MoMA

DATE 12/1/2018

The Brother In Elysium Books celebrates Dick Higgins' Selected Writings and 10 Years of Siglio Press

DATE 12/1/2018

Bonnie Marranca, Omar Berrada, Susan Bee, Stephen Motika, and Joan Retallack celebrate 'Etel Adnan: The Sun on the Tongue' at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 12/1/2018

Dashwood Books celebrates The Ice Plant with Melissa Catanese, Michael Schmelling & Jake Longstreth signings

DATE 12/1/2018

Time stops in Holiday Gift Staff Pick 'Evelyn Hofer: New York'

DATE 12/1/2018

Rachel Cobb presents 'Mistral' at Albertine

DATE 11/30/2018

'Rachel Cobb: Mistral' captures the legendary wind of Provence

DATE 11/29/2018

Steve Clay, Joshua Beckman, Steve McCaffery & Tracie Morris celebrate Dick Higgins' Selected Writings at Poets House

DATE 11/29/2018

Michael Roberts and Grace Coddington to launch 'GingerNutz Takes Paris' at Bookmarc NYC

DATE 11/29/2018

Music lovers, rejoice! An expanded edition of Vince Aletti's "Disco Files" is out now.


BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

FRANCES MORRIS AND TIFFANY BELL | DATE 7/13/2015

Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin

This week, we release the most important monograph ever published on the great twentieth century painter Agnes Martin, whose name and work are so much in the news because of the definitive retrospective on view at Tate Modern (for which this book was published), and the new biography by Nancy Princenthal. Below is the Introduction to our book, written by co-curators Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell.

Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
ABOVE: "Untitled" (1960).

In recent times, one hundred years after the "birth" of abstraction, the practice of painting – and especially abstract painting – appears as lively, relevant and debated as ever. There is, it seems, even in our globalized and digitalized world, a deep curiosity about the nature of the medium, how it works, what constitutes good painting and how a painting engages the viewer. There is also a real hunger to examine the history of the medium, from its genesis in the radical ferment – cultural, political and spiritual – of the early twentieth century and its development through the paradigm shifts of modernist art history.

Agnes Martin regarded as her lodestars a number of the painters now in the pantheon of Western abstraction, most particularly her near-contemporaries Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. The uncompromising, restrained stance of Martin's mature painting, the elliptical and often opaque nature of her statements, as well as, surely, her gender and her reluctance to be seen as part of a historical discourse, have ensured her – at most – a privileged place on the margins of that historical record. Now, over ten years after her death, her position deserves to be looked at afresh.

This survey undertakes close examination of the two distinct periods that define Martin's career, presenting the full range of early and late work together for the first time. Her early work, rarely exhibited, is, we suggest, essential to an understanding of her oeuvre: it demonstrates how embedded Martin's practice was in the visual language and literature of her time. Our narrative of her early period begins during her brief stint as a student at Columbia University in New York City, continues in New Mexico with her earliest experiments using biomorphic form, and ends back in New York City with her commitment to a delicately refined form of geometric abstraction, in the early 1960s. In 1967 Martin abruptly ceased to paint, and made an extended journey across the United States and Canada to experience silence and solitude. Martin's first recorded poetic meditations on creativity and beauty date from this period; they form part of a memorable body of written work examined in this volume by Jacquelynn Baas. The distinctive voice of the artist is represented here by a selection of her published writings.

Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
ABOVE: "Homage to Life" (2003).

The second period, which begins when she began to make art again in the early 1970s, spans three decades in which Martin, now settled in New Mexico, adopted a self-imposed template of vertical or horizontal stripes using a reduced color palette; from then on she restaged the quiet drama of painting continuously for almost three decades. Critics and observers have marveled at the intensity of these quiet works, all so alike but each one so different from the last. In this volume Marion Ackermann describes a late painting as the "synthesis of all that had gone before," modest in form and subtle in color though with "an immense presence" and "powerful energy that almost takes physical hold of the viewer."

Martin was her own most rigorous critic. From the beginning she ruthlessly edited out paintings that did not meet her particular standard of perfection. Later she attempted to purge works from her own back history that did not conform to what became her signature style and method. She particularly disliked her biomorphic paintings and those experimental and constructed works from her earliest years in New York. In interviews and conversations throughout her life, Martin regularly deflected questions related to her studio practice and to the hard-wrought development of her work. She did not keep records, and very few studio photographs exist. She discouraged interlocutors from considering her painting in the context of her time or as the outcome of her responses to external artistic stimuli. She privileged experience over interpretation, feeling over understanding, and inspiration over planning. Martin was even more reticent about her life beyond the studio. Her schizophrenia and homosexuality, defining characteristics for those who knew her well, were subjects out of bounds beyond Martin's inner circle.

Building on Tiffany Bell's research undertaken for the forthcoming catalogue raisonné, which informs her overview essay in this survey, it is now possible to reconstruct a much fuller and more complex picture of Martin's development. Essays by Frances Morris on her experimental paintings and sculptures and Anna Lovatt on the importance of drawing in Martin's work, as well as "in focus" texts by Rachel Barker, Richard Tobin and Christina Bryan Rosenberger, shed new light on aspects of her practice and show her unique mature style to be informed by close association with her contemporaries as well as by a rich array of inspiring role models. Above all, her paintings, even those canvases made towards the end of her life – examined here by Briony Fer – were shaped by lessons she had learned through rigorous experimentation and innovation many years before. On a more personal note, Lena Fritsch's essay examines the difference between Martin's public and not so public persona as evidenced in a number of known and not so well-known portraits of the artist.

Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
ABOVE: Agnes Martin in her studio on Ledoux Street, Taos, New Mexico, circa 1954. Photograph by Mildred Tolbert.

As Maria Müller-Schareck points out in her essay on the presentation and critical reception of Martin's work in Europe, there has been a long-standing appreciation of the artist and her art among art enthusiasts but often without a full knowledge of the works themselves. Martin always had an ambiguous attitude towards exhibitions and the scholarly and critical attention they generate, sometimes even obstructing the planning of major exhibitions. As a result, the full range of her work has been difficult to consider.

To a large degree, enthusiasm for Martin's work has been generated by artists, both American and European, across several generations. From her earliest shows, she gained support from her peers: Newman installed her exhibitions at Betty Parsons Gallery, and Ad Reinhardt recommended her work for an important early show at Virginia Dwan's gallery. Donald Judd wrote about her exhibitions, and the work of artists such as Eva Hesse and Dorothea Rockburne among many others has been associated or compared with Martin's. The following generation of artists encountered Martin's work principally through her Pace Gallery exhibitions of the 1980s and 1990s as well as, increasingly, on the walls of museums in Europe and North America. A steady trickle of devotees made their way down to New Mexico, and were inspired by the uncompromising stance of her chosen lifestyle as well as in her painting. Richard Tuttle, Roni Horn, Richard Serra and Rosemarie Trockel (in this volume) are among the many senior figures – to cite just the sculptors – who have found in her work resonance within their own practices.

Abstract painting, imbued with new terms, contexts, conditions and methodologies, has come under scrutiny from a generation of younger artists and their critics who are claiming the genre for themselves. There will be many for whom this is the first opportunity to view Martin's work in depth, to reflect on the contemporary relevance of her distinctive practice and its place in art history. What more appropriate moment could there be for reanimating the discussion around Agnes Martin?
Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin
Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell on Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin

D.A.P./TATE
Hbk, 8.25 x 10.5 in. / 272 pgs / 160 color.

$55.00  free shipping





ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com