Week 7: Someone Who Changed Your Perception Of What Art Can Be

Walter de Maria


Intriguing man to say the least. Walter de Maria was an American sculptor, illustrator, and composer who recently passed away last year at age 77. He is well known for his monumental outdoor installations but has done many pieces of different varieties.


His “New York Earth Room,” which opened in 1977, was a 3,600 square foot loft filled with 22 inches of earth (treated so nothing could grow in it). Another was in Germany where he pushed a solid brass rod into the ground  so that only its smooth top was visible. “In October, the artist presented his installation “The 2000 Sculpture” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it occupied most of the Resnick Pavilion. The piece consisted of 2,000 white rods arranged to form a geometric tesselation, creating different reflections of light.” http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/26/entertainment/la-et-cm-walter-de-maria-died-20130725



He is well known for his, “The Lightning Field,” western New Mexico. “The work is a grid of 400 stainless steel poles averaging 20 ½ feet in height and spaced 220 feet apart covering an area 1 kilometer by 1 mile.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/arts/design/walter-de-maria-artist-on-grand-scale-dies-at-77.html?_r=0


One of the rather important ideas he tried to communicate in his life what that the, “the invisible is real”. I believe he did a great job of this. I can’t imagine what “The 2000 Sculpture” would be like but I really think if would make the invisible come to life, if just for a short while, with the effect of the reflected light. The same can be said for “The Lightening Field” which I would love to see especially since I think lightening is dangerous, electric, and magnificent. 

He uses materials that enhance or create the effect that he tried, and succeeded, to accomplish so I think the poles, and rods, and whatever other materials he used were absolutely necessary. 


Many people have claimed the same thing about this man. In a word I feel like he is a legend. He has shown me that capturing lightening can be art and I find that quite exciting. 

“I think he’s one of the greatest artists of our time,” said LACMA director Michael Govan, who had worked with De Maria for a number of years. “I think there’s a quality to his work that is singular. It was sublime and direct.” http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/26/entertainment/la-et-cm-walter-de-maria-died-20130725


Singular, sublime, and direct. I think there are no better words. 










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