In this busy holiday season, a welcome respite comes via the Guggenheim museum. The Agnes Martin exhibit is a contemplative, meditative and serene journey. Hung along the rotunda, from top to bottom, the work is displayed for the most part in chronological order.
Martin, who originates from Canada, but then spent time in New York and later Taos, New Mexico lived a bohemian life. She didn't actually begin to share her work until age 44. Prior to that she would annually burn her work, because she didn't see its value.
Like Rothko and Mondrian, the work is primarily precise pencil-lined grids painted in muted colors. The depth of the work is deceiving until you spend some time concentrating on each. The works then begin to reveal remarkable depth and even color.
Spare in titles, Martin's work speaks for itself. There are a few sculptures that demonstrate Martin's curiosity and appreciation for textured and found objects. In the reading library, there is a fairly recent video interview--Martin died in 2004--that shows the artist working and commenting on her approach.
It would be a shame to miss this because one it too busy. A show like this makes surviving the busy possible.