Land artist Walter De Maria dies of stroke, aged 77
The “uncompromising” creator of The Lightning Field and The New York Earth Room shied away from the spotlight
***** Many thanks to the Art Newsletter for this article on Walter De Maria. Mr. Maria was one of the many land artist back in the 70’s who created art works on large scales and they were almost always controversial when designed/installed. The Lightning Field was no different.
Link to Dia Art site explaining Lightning Field and other facts and information.
Link to Wikipedia page on Walter De Maria.
Link to entire story on Santa Fe Always Online, here’s the opening of the review by Richard McCord —
THE LIGHTNING FIELD
By Richard McCord
On a barren, isolated plain in west-central New Mexico, one of the most remarkable artistic creations of all time has quietly taken shape. Called the Lightning Field, it is a precise geometric collection of 400 gleaming metal poles rising from the earth over an area one mile long and one kilometer wide.
Built in secrecy, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Lightning Field has stood in place since 1977. It is a mystifying—some would say a pointless—work. It is hidden, and except for a trickle of visitors will remain so. It serves no practical purpose. It cannot be viewed in its entirety, and can hardly be spotted from the air.
The Lightning Field is cerebral and cold, or fiery and emotional, or both, or neither, depending on each viewer’s perception. It has stirred major artistic debate throughout the world. But whatever else might be said about the Lightning Field, one thing about it is beyond dispute: There is nothing else like it on Earth.
There are several you-tube videos out there and I really can’t recommend spending a lot of time looking at those. So take a look, but be prepared to sift through some very dry videos.
Below is the Art Newsletter in it’s entirety —
By Julia Halperin and Helen Stoilas. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2013
Walter de Maria
The artist Walter De Maria, best known for his land art work The Lightning Field, 1977, made of 400 steel poles embedded in a grid in the desert of western New Mexico, died of a stroke on Thursday, aged 77.
The minimalist artist worked closely with the Dia Art Foundation, which commissioned and maintains The Lightning Field, along with two pieces in Manhattan, The Broken Kilometer, 1979, and The New York Earth Room, 1977. In a statement, the foundation says De Maria “was an integral part of Dia since the beginning and he truly embodied Dia’s spirit and commitment to creating time and space for art with no compromise.”
De Maria rarely made public appearances or gave interviews, preferring instead to collaborate with institutions behind the scenes on long-term exhibitions and permanent installations. “He never really talked about his art because he didn’t want to impose an interpretation,” says Philippe Vergne, Dia’s director. “He was invested in art at the most uncompromising level, with a rigor that kept him away from much of the noise of the art world right now.” Vergne recalled receiving a phone call from De Maria as soon as he took over Dia in 2008. “He wanted to meet. He took me to a restaurant in Tribeca called Chanterelle—not because the food was marvellous but because the building used to be a Dia building. He wanted me to understand the history of Dia. He told me only after we were done with lunch.”
The Menil Collection in Houston presented De Maria’s first major museum exhibition in the United States, “Walter De Maria: Trilogies”, in 2011. De Maria’s installation Apollo’s Ecstasy, 1990, comprising 20 bronze rods assembled in a line on the ground, is currently on view in the exhibition “The Encyclopaedic Palace” at the 55th Venice Biennale.