Ad and Artists
Making Friends: Ad Reinhardt and Agnes Martin
In 1967, Agnes Martin left New York City, where she had been living for a decade. She traveled for two years in Canada and the American West before settling on a remote New Mexican mesa, building a house by hand, and living in relative isolation for the remainder of her years. She made no art until 1973, when she completed On a Clear Day, a monumental suite of 30 orthogonal grids that were shortly thereafter shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It was only after completing the series that she erected a studio and got back to painting. Contributory, if not more exactly causal, in both cases was Ad Reinhardt: Just as his death immediately before her decampment suggested the unsuitability of continued habitation in this place, his work allowed Martin to resume her own. When Robert Feldman pursued Martin in 1971 in the hopes of commissioning etchings, she initially refused the invitation, later consenting on the condition that she produce screenprints instead. Martin cited Reinhardt’s utilization of the medium (as exemplified by his Wadsworth Atheneum prints from 1966) as precedent. Thus was On a Clear Day achieved. Although Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were idols, Martin, in the onanistic tradition they did so much to establish, refused a genealogy that implied influence, which makes her naming the authority of Reinhardt all the more surprising. Friendship, materialized, becomes a form of habituation to life.
SUZANNE HUDSON is an art historian and critic who lives in Los Angeles.
Agnes Martin: The Distillation of ColorBy David Rhodes
JUNE 2021 | ArtSeen
Agnes Martin desired that her paintings, when exhibited, should be presented together in a small group for quiet contemplation. Her long-standing gallerist Arne Glimcher made sure, from her emergence as an artist of significance in the 1970s to this current exhibition, that where possible it would be the case.
The Historical Present: Collective Solitude at Coenties SlipBy Prudence Peiffer
JUL-AUG 2022 | Art
For the past five years Ive been consumed by the story of a group of artists who lived and worked from 19561967 in nineteenth-century sailmaking and maritime lofts on a three-block radius at the southern tip of Manhattan, near the Battery and South Street seaport. They were a motley crew who all came from outside of the city and settled (illegally) into rough but cheap open spaces on Coenties Slip, one of New Yorks oldest streets. Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Youngerman had just returned from Paris, carrying with them a legacy of abstraction but also an ambition to paint something new. Agnes Martin arrived from the southwest, already thinking of how the citys landscape could structure her compositions. Lenore Tawney was starting over after another life in Chicago, eager to continue inventing ways to expand a looms capacities.
Joan Brown & In the Shadow of Mt. TamBy Suzanne Hudson
MARCH 2023 | ArtSeen
Rail critic Suzanne Hudson examines the effects of time and place on two new exhibitions highlighting artists of the Bay Area.
Elaine Reichek: Material GirlBy Norman L Kleeblatt
APRIL 2022 | ArtSeen
Elaine Reichek scavenges among sources from literature, history, mythology, and art, fabricating images and texts she transforms into textiles. Trained as a painter by avant-garde, intellectually rigorous icons, notably Ad Reinhardt, her career has been defined by her strategic use of the textile mediuma feminist, postmodern strategy.