Beauty And Truth: Agnes Martin

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To see Agnes Martin’s elegant, intense work in the Guggenheim — up close and across the beckoning spiral — is a quieter kind of joy. There’s the discovery of these wondrous paintings and works on paper that you savor on the slow walk up, and then there’s the buzzed walk back down, a second chance to re-visit the pieces you now know and hate to leave. I can’t wait to go back and start all over again, beginning with the gathering of “The Islands I-XII” (1979).

Martin struggled with schizophrenia, and The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl references an essay Martin wrote in 1973 — “On The Perfection Underlying Life” — that addresses what Schjeldahl calls “the concealment and control” she needed in her work. “The grid as a screen and as a shield.” The essay can be found and enjoyed here. This show can be seen through January 11, 2017.

Pia Ehrhardt

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2 Responses to “Beauty And Truth: Agnes Martin”

  1. love your line “a quieter kind of joy” as it really captures my experience of her work. the princenthal bio of martin is excellent.

  2. Martin’s exhibit is truly “the incredible lightness of being.”

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