Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin: To the Islands: Paintings 1974-79

December 2, 2005 - June 26, 2006

<p>Agnes Martin, <i>Untitled</i>, 1975.</p>

Agnes Martin, Untitled, 1975.


In 1974, after a hiatus of some six years and a retrospective of her work covering the decade 1957-67, Agnes Martin resumed painting. The works of the later seventies explore unprecedented avenues within her abiding aesthetic, culminating in 1979 in a suite of twelve subtly interrelated paintings, The Islands. This is the latest phase in Dia’s multi-part retrospective of Martin’s work.


Press Release


Works from 1974-1979, following Martin's return to painting after hiatus

Nov 09, 2005

Beacon, New York-An exhibition of paintings by Agnes Martin organized as part of the exhibition program at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, will be on view from December 2. This is the third in an ongoing series of presentations of Martin's work organized by Dia Art Foundation. Focusing on works from 1974 to 1979 "To the Islands" opens on December 2, 2005, and will be in view through June 26, 2006.

Dia's retrospective exploration of Martin's work began in May 2004 with "…going forward into unknown territory…," which featured works from the decade 1957 to 1967, when Martin lived and worked in New York City. The second installment, "…unknown territory…" was on view April 14 through November 7, 2005, and highlighted paintings from the mid-1960s. "To the Islands" will be followed in summer 2006 by a fourth component dedicated to works from the 1980s.

In 1967, Agnes Martin left New York City, where she had lived and worked since 1957. She settled in a remote area in New Mexico, where she built a small house, then a studio. Following the first retrospective of her work (at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in 1973) and her reexamination of her practice via a print portfolio and the publication of her early writings, Martin began to paint again in 1974.

The paintings of the period 1974 to 1979 explore new avenues within Martin's aesthetic, while retaining the format of the six-foot-square canvas which she privileged during the 1960s. During the years 1974-75 Martin introduced a more radiant use of color and an interest in seriality. "To the Islands" culminates in The Islands (1979), a suite of paintings in diluted washes of acrylic and graphite, each a subtle variation on a white and light blue composition with overlaying graphite lines. A single work in twelve parts, this monumental painting is among Martin's most ambitious works. Among the other paintings on view in "To the Islands" are Untitled #12, an India ink, graphite and gesso canvas featuring large bands of subtle washes in pale blue and salmon pink. Funding This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Dedalus Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin was born in Macklin, in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1912. She grew up in Vancouver, then moved to Bellingham, Washington, in 1932. Martin gained a BA in 1942 and an MA in 1952 from Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, while intermittently living in New Mexico. In 1957 she relocated to Coenties Slip in Lower Manhattan, where her neighbors included the artists Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, James Rosenquist, Leonore Tawney, and Ann Wilson. Martin had her first one-person exhibition in 1958 at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York. After ten years in Manhattan, she returned to the Southwest and lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, until her death on December 16, 2004. Surveys of Martin's work have been presented at venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1973), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1991) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1992). She was awarded a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and a National Endowment for the Arts Nation Medal of Arts in 1988, among other awards. In 1997 the Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum of Art and the University of New Mexico was established.

Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Dia:Beacon, Dia Art Foundation's museum in the Hudson Valley, presents a distinguished collection of contemporary art from the 1960s to the present. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility, which was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice.

Dia:Beacon's expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. The museum houses works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.

Programming at the museum includes a series of year-long temporary exhibitions as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly Gallery Talks, music performances by St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, Readings in Contemporary Literature, Community Free Days for neighboring counties and an education program that serves area students at all education levels.

Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. The Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City. For schedule and fare information, please visit the MTA's website at The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia's website at Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Current hours are 11 am to 4 pm, Thursday-Monday, through November 21, 2005. Winter hours ( November 25, 2005-April 10, 2006) are 11 am to 4 pm, Friday through Monday. The public information line for the museum is 845 400 0100.

A portion of Dia:Beacon's November admissions will be donated to Museums Helping Museums: A National Relief Effort for the Gulf Region.

Dia Art Foundation
Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in Beacon, New York, within a 300,000 square-foot former printing facility on the Hudson River. Dia plans to relocate its acclaimed contemporary exhibition program in New York City to the future entrance to the High Line park in Lower Manhattan. The Foundation also maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and on Long Island.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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