Larry Bell (American, b.1939) is a painter and sculptor whose works blur the boundary between artwork, viewer, and environment through the use of reflective materials that warp the perceived space of the work. Raised in Chicago, IL, Bell attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA, from 1957 to 1959, where he began experimenting with geometric forms and unusual materials. His early paintings often employed mirrored glass to create a disorienting relationship between viewer and object, as viewers could identify their reflection within the work. Discouraged by the limitations of two-dimensional art, Bell began making fragmented mirror boxes, which created an early precedent for his mature sculptures consisting of pure glass cubes.
In 1966, Bell obtained a vacuum-coating machine that he used to produce cubes on an even larger scale, which he mounted on a Plexiglas base. These larger works foreshadowed his later interest in making site-specific art for outdoor spaces. In addition to his sculptures, Bell did eventually return to the two-dimensional format, using film deposition technology to create his famed mirage works and vapor drawings.
Bell has maintained a studio in Venice, CA, for many years, even after his move to Taos, NM. He has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., as well as by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Bell’s work is represented in major collections worldwide, including those of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Tate Gallery in London, UK.