ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 10/21/2020

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 presents Amy Sillman and Lynne Tillman in conversation for the virtual launch of 'Amy Sillman: Faux Pas, Selected Writings and Drawings'

DATE 10/21/2020

In memory of Franck André Jamme

DATE 10/19/2020

See Gered Mankowitz's previously unpublished 1966 photos of the Rolling Stones at home!

DATE 10/17/2020

'Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime' is back in stock!

DATE 10/16/2020

Renate Miracco and Edmund White to launch 'Oscar Wilde's Italian Dream' virtually with 192 Books

DATE 10/16/2020

Happy birthday Oscar Wilde, born on this day, 1854

DATE 10/14/2020

'Female Photographers Org: The Body Issue' is new from Hatje Cantz!

DATE 10/13/2020

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 presents Antwaun Sargent and Jacolby Satterwhite in conversation for the east coast virtual launch of 'Young, Gifted and Black'

DATE 10/13/2020

'Moirémotion,' the newest in Takahiro Kurashima's beloved 'Poemotion' series, is here!

DATE 10/9/2020

Amy Sillman's 'Faux Pas: Selected Writings and Drawings' releases today from After 8 Books!

DATE 10/8/2020

In 'Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide,' a possible glimpse of nature’s future order in a posthuman world

DATE 10/8/2020

Manetti Shrem Museum presents Bernard Lumpkin, Antwaun Sargent and Matt Wycoff in conversation for the west coast virtual launch of 'Young, Gifted and Black'

DATE 10/6/2020

In 'Robert Capa: Death in the Making,' a refusal to consent to tyrants

DATE 10/2/2020

Virtual Event: ICP and Damiani Books present Cynthia Young launching 'Robert Capa: Death in the Making'

DATE 10/1/2020

Darkness and hope in 'Philip Guston Now'

DATE 10/1/2020

Halloween Staff Picks for Scary Times, 2020

DATE 10/1/2020

In support of 'Philip Guston Now'

DATE 9/29/2020

'In Search of African American Space' redresses racism in our built and social spaces

DATE 9/26/2020

'Colored People Time' is new from ICA Philadelphia

DATE 9/22/2020

'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976' is NEW from Bad Dimensions Press!

DATE 9/22/2020

MoMA releases gorgeous new facsimile of 'Luigi Ghirri: Cardboard Landscapes (Paesaggi di cartone)'

DATE 9/22/2020

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month 2020!

DATE 9/19/2020

Savage nature and intimate domesticity in 'Michael Turek: Siberia'

DATE 9/17/2020

'Poor Richard by Philip Guston' is "freshly relevant" as we approach the 2020 elections

DATE 9/16/2020

Peter Saul, Dan Nadel and Aaron Curry to launch 'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence' with a virtual conversation and signing at Artbook @ MoMA PS1

DATE 9/15/2020

'KAWS: He Eats Alone' is a New Release this week!

DATE 9/14/2020

'Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People' is on view at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago

DATE 9/12/2020

'Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe' is a new release this week!

DATE 9/11/2020

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' examines the secret world of American military roleplay

DATE 9/11/2020

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' makes for interesting 9/11 reading

DATE 9/10/2020

Kyle Meyer's astonishing 'Interwoven' blends Swazi craft with digital photography

DATE 9/9/2020

Celebrating Brassaï, denizen of the "fringe world," born on this day, 1899

DATE 9/8/2020

Disasters, Natural and Man-made

DATE 9/8/2020

Paul Mpagi Sepuya in 'Young, Gifted and Black'

DATE 9/7/2020

We're holding on to the last rays of summer sun with Daniel Heidkamp’s work in 'Landscape Painting Now'

DATE 9/4/2020

'Bernadette Mayer: Memory' is reviewed in this week's 'New Yorker'

DATE 9/2/2020

Celebrating the Workers of the World on Labor Day

DATE 8/26/2020

'Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists' is a New Release this week!

DATE 8/24/2020

'Cy Twombly: Making Past Present' is NEW from MFA Boston

DATE 8/23/2020

Celebrate Summer with 'The Swimming Pool in Photography'

DATE 8/22/2020

Celebrate the 112th birthday of Henri Cartier-Bresson with 'Le Grand Jeu'!

DATE 8/21/2020

Scholarly 'The Irascibles' documents the Abstract Expressionists' epic 1950 protest of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

DATE 8/19/2020

Surprising 'Lisa Yuskavage: Wilderness' is a new release this week!

DATE 8/16/2020

Fred Herzog: Modern Color is Back in Stock!

DATE 8/15/2020

'Mungo Thomson: Mail' is NEW from Inventory Press

DATE 8/11/2020

Francesca Woodman: On Being an Angel, color photograph with tripod

DATE 8/11/2020

Celebrating Woodstock, 51 Years After It Changed Everything

DATE 8/10/2020

Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Bookstore presents a virtual launch event for 'Mungo Thomson: Mail'

DATE 8/10/2020

Visit us at the Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Market 2020

DATE 8/9/2020

BACK IN STOCK! The landmark first major monograph on nonagenarian surrealist Luchita Hurtado

DATE 8/7/2020

Tosh Berman on 'The World's Worst: A Guide to the Portsmouth Sinfonia'—a new adventure in its highest form


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