Ultimately I’m using the painting as a sounding board for the spirit. . . . You can be painting and go into a place where thought stops—where you can just be and it just comes out. . . . I present it as an open situation rather than a closed situation.
Brice Marden continuously refines and extends the traditions of lyrical abstraction. Experimenting with self-imposed rules, limits, and processes, and drawing inspiration from his extensive travels, Marden brings together the diagrammatic formulations of Minimalism, the immediacy of Abstract Expressionism, and the intuitive gesture of calligraphy in his exploration of gesture, line, and color.
In 1963 Marden received an MFA from Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture, where his teachers included the painters Alex Katz and Jon Schueler. After graduation he worked as a guard at the Jewish Museum in New York. There, during a 1964 Jasper Johns retrospective, Marden studied Johns’s early works extensively and considered them in relation to the Baroque masters he has long admired, such as Francisco de Zurbarán, Francisco Goya, and Diego Velázquez. Marden’s works from the 1960s include subtle, shimmering monochromes in gray tones, sometimes assembled canvases into multipanel works, in a manner similar to the black paintings and White Paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, who hired Marden as a studio assistant in 1966.
A trip to Greece in the early 1970s led Marden to create the Hydra paintings (1972), which capture the turquoise hues of the Mediterranean, and Thira (1979–80), a painting composed of eighteen interconnected panels inspired by the shadows and geometry of ancient temples. To heighten the effect of each color, plane, and brushstroke, Marden developed the unique process of adding beeswax and turpentine to oil paint and applying the mixture in many thin layers. Marden employed this technique for the Grove Group paintings (1972–76)—exhibited at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery in New York in 1991, along with related works—and the Red Yellow Blue paintings (1973–74)—five permutations of the primary trio—which were united for the first time since their making at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York in 2013.
In the 1980s Marden began to incorporate organic, intersecting lines, creating rhythmic patterns over fields of color. He has been exploring these winding lines ever since, experimenting with blank space, erasure, and references to the natural world. He seeks to create a mystical experience through the creation of elusive abstract spaces. As his many themes and techniques have overlapped, Marden has sought to bring them together in cohesive, often multipart works, which he has described as his “summation paintings.” Among them is The Propitious Garden of Plane Image, Third Version (2000–06), held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he had his first comprehensive retrospective in 2006.
In recent years Marden has continued his exploration of the qualities of monochrome. This engagement with muted colors has informed new calligraphic drawings and works on canvas, such as the Nevis Stele paintings (2007–15), inspired by Chinese stone carvings from the late eighth century. In 2017 he turned his gaze to the expansive possibilities of terre verte (green earth), an iron silicate clay pigment, which he first used in the Grove Group. His new paintings incorporate many different brands of terre verte, each a variation on the indefinable hue. Marden thins his slow-drying paint and applies it gradually to the canvas in many successive layers, leaving a visible residue of the painting process at the lower edge of each canvas.
These paintings are of themselves
November 13–December 18, 2021
541 West 24th Street, New York
It reminds me of something, and I don’t know what it is.
November 9–December 21, 2019
980 Madison Avenue, New York
The Generative Surface
Eileen Costello explores the oft-overlooked importance of paper choice to the mediums of drawing and printmaking, from the Renaissance through the present day.
Private Pages Made Public
Megan N. Liberty explores artists’ engagement with notebooks and diaries, thinking through the various meanings that arise when these private ledgers become public.
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum
Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.
Brice Marden: Four Quartets
Four paintings by Brice Marden have been incorporated into a new dance commission based on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, with choreography by Pam Tanowitz, and music by Kaija Saariaho. The performance will premiere on July 6, 2018 at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard as part of the SummerScape Festival. Gideon Lester, the Fisher Center’s artistic director for theater and dance, spoke with Marden about the canvases that form the set design.
Robert Pincus-Witten on Brice Marden
In honor of Robert Pincus-Witten, we share an essay he wrote in 1991 on Brice Marden’s Grove Group.
Brice Marden, Gary Hume, and Tim Marlow
At the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Brice Marden sat down with fellow painter Gary Hume and the Royal Academy’s artistic director, Tim Marlow, to discuss his newest body of work.
Work in Progress
With preparations underway for a London exhibition, we visit the artist’s studio.
Art Basel Miami Beach 2022
December 1–3, 2022, Booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
The Brice Marden Catalogue Raisonné is announcing a call for works for the preparation of a catalogue of all of Brice Marden’s paintings and works on paper. The project is now accepting submissions for unique works of art on canvas and on paper. If you are an owner of an artwork by Brice Marden, please visit the catalogue raisonné website to access the submission form.
Initiated in 2019, the completed publication will document Brice Marden’s oeuvre with an entry for each work that includes descriptive information and a comprehensive provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography. Tiffany Bell is the editor of the catalogue raisonné, working closely with the artist’s studio, Plane Image, and with the support of Gagosian.
Brice Marden, Rivers, 2020–21 © Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Art Basel 2022
June 16–19, 2022, hall 2, booth B15
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel 2022 with modern and contemporary works by gallery artists, as well as special entries in the Unlimited section of the fair.
Gagosian’s booth in the main section of the fair represents the full breadth and depth of the gallery’s programming through work by many of its represented artists. On view are new works by Mark Grotjahn, Rudolf Stingel, and Jonas Wood; works by newly represented artists including Ashley Bickerton, Rick Lowe, and Jordan Wolfson; and works by Theaster Gates and Brice Marden, both of whom are also exhibiting at other venues in Basel—Gagosian’s gallery at Rheinsprung 1 and Kunstmuseum Basel, respectively—during the fair.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Succession Picasso 2022; © John Currin; © Jonas Wood; © Mark Tansey; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Brice Marden and Greek Antiquity
May 20–October 3, 2022
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens
This exhibition, part of the “Divine Dialogues” series at the Museum of Cycladic Art, includes artworks from a wide range of Brice Marden’s artistic output, revealing a resonance with the metaphysics of ancient Greek heritage. Paintings, drawings, and notebooks that highlight Marden’s sharp observation and unique abstract gaze are presented in dialogue with selected antiquities from the museum’s permanent collections.
Installation view, Brice Marden and Greek Antiquity, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, May 20–October 3, 2022. Artwork © 2022 Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Paris Tavitian © Museum of Cycladic Art
America. Entre rêves et réalités
La collection du Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection
June 9–September 11, 2022
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Canada
Featuring more than a hundred paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video works drawn from the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, this exhibition, whose title translates to America. Between Dreams and Realities, offers a broad overview of modern and contemporary American art. Organized thematically, it looks carefully and critically at the notion of the American dream and uncovers how artists have variously grappled with questions of identity, the challenges of globalization, the realities of everyday life in America, and the complexities of its technological and political revolutions. Work by Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Sally Mann, Man Ray, Brice Marden, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Mary Weatherford is included.
Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
May 14–August 28, 2022
Inner Space includes more than ninety works created between 1972 and 2019, including drawings and paintings from Brice Marden’s own collection, several of which have never before been shared with the public. Studies for Marden’s unrealized commission to redesign the choir windows of Basel’s medieval cathedral are shown alongside his rarely exhibited Window Paintings. By juxtaposing drawings with paintings, the exhibition focuses on the process-based nature of the artist’s approach.
Installation view, Brice Marden: Inner Space, Kunstmuseum Basel, May 14–August 28, 2022. Artwork © Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jonas Hänggi
Variation in Print
April 30–August 28, 2022
This exhibition, whose subtitle translates to American Graphic Art, explores the so-called “graphic boom,” when, beginning in the 1960s, prominent American artists eagerly explored the potentials and challenges of printmaking. The technical particularities of the medium—including serial repetition, the use of found motifs, and the division of idea and execution among multiple participants—provided stimuli that became central to their artistic concepts. Work by Donald Judd and Brice Marden is included.
Installation view, Variation in Print: Amerikanische Druckgrafik, Kunstmuseum Basel, April 30–August 28, 2022. Artwork © Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jonas Hänggi