Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings

Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings

Tuesday, May 4, 2004Friday, July 2, 2004

Tuesday, May 4, 2004Friday, July 2, 2004

Paintings recall the artist’s early work from the late 1950s and early 1960s
DIA: Beacon also opens exhibition of work from 1957 – 1967 in May

New York, April 16, 2004 – PaceWildenstein is pleased to present Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings on view at 32 East 57th Street, New York from May 4 through June 19, 2004. Martin’s newest paintings, while still 60 x 60”, remarkably recall her work of the late 1950s and early 1960s and represent a radical departure for the artist.

When Martin joined Pace in 1975 the composition of her work was already based on a regular grid. In the intervening years a subtler grid evolved where her brushstrokes and horizontal lines formed the composition. More recently Martin’s 2002 paintings, exhibited at the gallery the following year, were the first works to signify a shift through the introduction of a vertical format. Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings is the first body of work to basically defy her signature grid. Floating shapes, as well as new divisions of space, are now present in the new work.

While her new work is reminiscent of paintings from over forty years ago, the artist has truly broken new ground. In the 1989 essay Beauty is the Mystery of Life Martin wrote, “Composition is an absolute mystery. It is dictated by the mind. The artist searches for certain sounds or lines that are acceptable to mind and finally an arrangement of them that is acceptable.”

The exhibition of recent paintings at PaceWildenstein coincides with …going forward into unknown territory…, a show of early Agnes Martin paintings dating from 1957 to 1967 on view at Dia:Beacon from May 16, 2004 through April 18, 2005. This presentation of Martin’s works highlights a little-known group of paintings executed from 1957 to 1960 when she lived and worked in New York City. Seldom exhibited, these paintings, which were recently donated to Dia, are contextualized with other signature works from the 1960s.

Agnes Martin (b. 1912, Maklin, Saskatchewan, Canada) studied at Western Washington College of Education, Bellingham, WA, prior to receiving her B.S. (1942) from Teachers College, Columbia University. A few years following graduation, Martin matriculated at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, where she also taught art courses before returning to Columbia University to earn her M.A. (1952). Since her first solo exhibition in 1958, Martin’s work has been the subject of more than 85 solo shows and two retrospectives including the survey Agnes Martin organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which later traveled to Milwaukee, Miami, Houston and Madrid (1992-94) and Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1974-1990 organized by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, with subsequent venues in France and Germany (1991-92).

Most recently, The Menil Collection, Houston, mounted “Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond” (2002) and The Harwood Museum of Art at the University of New Mexico, Taos, organized “Agnes Martin Paintings from 2001” as well as a symposium honoring Martin on the occasion of her recent 90th birthday in June 2002.

In addition to participating in an international array of group exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (1997, 1980, 1976), the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial (1995, 1977), and Documenta, Kassel, Germany (1972), Martin has been the recipient of multiple honors including the Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts given by Governor Gary Johnson, Santa Fe, New Mexico (1998); the National Medal of Arts awarded by President Clinton and the National Endowment for the Arts (1998);the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement by the College Art Association (1998); the Golden Lion for Contribution to Contemporary Art at the Venice Biennale (1997); the Oskar Kokoschka Prize awarded by the Austrian government (1992); the Alexej von Jawlensky Prize awarded by the city of Wiesbaden, Germany (1991); and election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York (1989).

Agnes Martin’s work can be found in numerous public collections throughout the United States and abroad including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati, Marfa, TX; The Dia Center for the Arts, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; The Museum of Modern Art New York, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, NY; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Tate Gallery, London; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others.

Agnes Martin currently works and lives in New Mexico.


For further information on Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings please refer to or contact Sarah Kurz at 212-421-3292, or