Friday, July 26, 2013


The artist Walter de Maria died yesterday. 

I saw this wonderful work at LACMA last year. It took up the entire Resnick Pavilion there and was meant to catch the light in different ways. I always enjoyed de Maria's work- the Broken Kilometer and Earth Room in Soho in NYC were like art touchstones. They were just There, through the years, supported by the Dia Foundation, which also supports Lightning Field here in New Mexico. I have yet to see it- you have to make an appointment, then they pick you up and take you to a little cabin, where you stay overnight and are free to wander the landscape and enjoy the de Maria piece. 400 polished stainless steel poles, set in the ground in such a way that they are perfectly aligned at the top. An incredible feat of planning and engineering. Maybe not like the Great Pyramids, but something that inspires awe. 

De Maria's work was about the finite and the infinite at the same time. The work was strictly delineated by imagined or built borders, or it was titled by its size (as in "Broken Kilometer.") But the scale was such that you almost couldn't see its end. A horizon would form and you would be aware that yes, there is an end, but the view seems limitless and overwhelming. He was a singular artist- I can't think of anyone who has created work that is quite like that, and he will be missed.

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