Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art

Presentation by Nancy Princenthal

Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art Presentation by Nancy Princenthal | Events Calendar


New York Public Library | Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The New York Public Library inaugurates the first biography of the visionary artist Agnes Martin with a presentation by Nancy Princenthal, the author of the book, about the artist’s formative experiences, the development of her work, and the range of lively non-mainstream art communities in which she lived. Following the presentation, Nancy Princenthal and Arezoo Moseni converse about the challenges facing a biographer of such an elusive artist and other topics related to the book and Agnes Martin's life and work.

The release of this unprecedented book coincides with the first retrospective exhibition of her work since 1994, opening at Tate Modern on June 3 and on view through October 11, 2015.

Over the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism, even as she battled psychological crises and carved out a solitary existence in the American Southwest. Martin identified with the Abstract Expressionists but her commitment to linear geometry caused her to be associated in turn with Minimalist, feminist, and even outsider artists.

She moved through some of the liveliest art communities of her time while maintaining a legendary reserve. “I paint with my back to the world,” she says both at the beginning and at the conclusion of a documentary filmed when she was in her late eighties.

“The lines she drew mapped a cosmic transit of power that fuels happiness, beauty and innocence—and danger as well. In seeking to express the vibrancy and joy inherent to animate beings, she also strove to regulate an energy that was not always easy to tame.” —Nancy Princenthal

No substantial critical monograph exists on this acclaimed artist—the recipient of two career retrospectives as well as the National Medal of the Arts—who was championed by critics as diverse in their approaches as Lucy Lippard, Lawrence Alloway, and Rosalind Krauss. Furthermore, no attempt has been made to describe her extraordinary life. The whole engrossing story, told here for the first time, Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art is essential reading for anyone interested in abstract art or the history of women artists in America.

Advance copies of Agnes Martin (Thames & Hudson 2015) are available for purchase and signing at the end of event.

Nancy Princenthal is a New York-based critic and former Senior Editor of Art in America, for which she continues to write regularly; other publications to which she has contributed include Artforum, Parkett, the Village Voice, and the New York Times. Her monograph Hannah Wilke was published by Prestel in 2010; her essays have also appeared in monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold and Alfredo Jaar, among many others. She is a co-author of two recent books on leading women artists, including The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium (Prestel, fall 2013). Her new book is Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson, summer 2015). Having taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Princeton University; Yale University, RISD, Montclair State University and elsewhere, she is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.

Arezoo Moseni is an artist. Her work has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions at major venues in the United States and abroad such as FIAC 2014, and it is held in numerous public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Mead Gallery and Musee de La Photographie. She is the recipient of several fellowships and grants including the Carnegie Corporation of New York | New York Times award, Kentler International Work on Site grant, Yaddo Fellowship and Artists Space Independent Project grant. She received a BFA at Utah State University, a MA and MFA at the University of New Mexico, and a MLIS at Pratt Institute. She curates exhibitions and events at The New York Public Library where she has initiated several exhibition and program series featuring the work of emerging and renowned artists, authors, critics, designers and others.

In its seventh year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.

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