Monday, October 10, 2016

The Joy of Reading Between Agnes Martin’s Lines

By Holland Cotter
A detail from “Untitled #5” (1998), one of more than 100 works by Agnes Martin in a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum.
NEW YORK---It makes sense that the Abstract Expressionist she was personally closest to was another misidentified Minimalist, Ad Reinhardt, whom she met in the 1960s, at the time he was making his “black” paintings. They shared in interest in the spiritual utility of art, an interest that, in her case, had distinct, if informal, Buddhist underpinnings. There were other, greater differences. For Reinhardt, art was a speculative, philosophical endeavor with political dimensions. For Martin — who insisted, problematically in my view, that artists should stay out of the world, have no political responsibilities — art was something more basic: a lifesaver. “Banish punishing thoughts” could be the motto of her late career. [link]

Guggenheim Museum: “Agnes Martin” (Ends January 11, 2017); 1071 Fifth Avenue; 212-423-3500,