Friday, August 4, 2023

Sweden Journal: Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin (1954)

“I paint with my back to the world.” The quote from Agnes Martin uttered by a young Danish art historian in the midst of a walking tour  epitomizes the almost hypnotic power of certain truths. Martin actually produced a six painting series, "With My Back to the World." However, the remark given to a small group far from the maddening crowd, as it were, highlights not only the ethos and ars poetica of a famous abstractionist, but cuts through the air, making the world anew at least for one listener. It’s a one-line aphorism that's at once ineffable and non-existent. It’s also timeless while at the same time changing both the past and the future. Time travelers are careful not to leave a hair, but a random phrase can change one’s world forever. What is Martin trying to say, then? That the artist ultimately lives in his or her head? 

read the Kirkus review of The Kafka Studies Department by Francis Levy

and also read Joan Baum's NPR review of The Kafka Studies Department

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