Walter De Maria's work in the 2013 Venice Biennale (photo Mack McFarland)
Walter De Maria
, one of the great artists of the 20th Century has died.
Logically, he will be known for his greatest works such as The Broken Kilometer, The New York Earth Room
and The Lightning Field but many who focus on them will miss the intensely deadpan humor you can see in works like High Energy Bar and Certificate in MOMA's collection
. In many ways his works operate like games that have no discernible rules for playing them and are prime examples of Post WWII art that sought drain themselves of metaphor. This dislike of metaphor likely sprang from the intense use of it by the Nazis to seize power... and then the adoption of it into cold war schisms. There is a strong thread of Dada in so called minimalist works. Think of it as an oblique objection rather than an object.
Also, I've been to several of his land art pieces and the relentless sublime only adds to the existential humor... a bit like getting lost in the wilderness while getting lost in the art.
De Maria was also a composer and you can listen to his two best known pieces here
Last week PORT published an interview where Marc Treib and I discuss his work
(among other things). I will update this post as info develops.
*Update: The Dia Foundation confirms via tweet
and here is the official New York Times obit
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