The lightening field

Biography:

Walter de Maria was born in Albana California on October 1st, 1935.He studied history and art at the
University of California, Berkeley from 1953 to 1959.His early sculptures from the 1960s were
influenced by Dada and other modern art movements. This influence led De Maria into using simple
geometric shapes and industrially manufactured materials such as stainless steel and aluminum –
materials which are also characteristic of Minimal art. In the mid 1960s, he became involved in various artistic activities.

Art work facts:

In 1960, De Maria moved to New York; here he wrote essays on art, which were published in 1963 in
Young’s An Anthology, and took part in Happenings and multimedia presentations. In 1961, he made
his first wooden box sculptures. De Maria and Robert Whitman opened the 9 Great Jones Street
gallery in New York in 1963; the same year, De Maria’s first solo show of sculpture was presented
there. This year, he worked as a drummer for the rock group The Velvet Underground. He continued to
work in wood, began his “invisible drawings,” and composed music. With the support of collector
Robert C. Scull, De Maria started making pieces in metal in 1965. In 1966, he was given a solo show at Cordier & Ekstrom, New York, and participated in Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum, New York.

Personal response:

Mojave Desert for Walls in the Desert, a project, originally conceived in 1962, which is to consist of two
parallel mile-long walls. In 1968, he also participated in Documenta in Kassel. A major exhibition of De
Maria’s sculpture was held at the Kunstmuseum Basel in 1972. Earthworks and serial geometric
sculpture continue to occupy De Maria in the 1970s: his Three Continent Project was completed in
1972 and the Lightning Field in New Mexico was finished in 1977. That same year, De Maria recreated
his Earth Room at the Heiner Friedrich Gallery in New York. The artist lives in New York.
I think the poles provide a very simple but effective eye catching feature within the landscape.For this
reason, I believe it would be a very stimulating environment to be in, especially during the time of
activity i.e. during a lightening or thunder storm where you would be able to fully benfit the experiance
of the lightening poles and see their power at its best. I find it really exciting how such simple looking
structures can transorm a plain scenery into a lively and enegetic space. When first looking at a picture
of the poles I was not very impressed, however then reading on about their purpose, I was very
amazed.

Additional Information:

www.channel4.com, Walter de Maria the lightening field. www.diaart.org

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