My Sunday visit to the Guggenheim was a journey of surprises.
First of all, I ran into a line of would-be visitors that disappeared around the block and down that street. Luckily I had a card that bypassed what looked like an hour long wait on a cool windy day and immediately ran into a wall of people who, when they weren't standing in line for the Mauritzio Cattelan's "Gold Toilet", were crowded the sloping aisles to examine the 100 plus Agnes Martin paintings and drawings, up close and fascinated. I always listen to comments at these exhibitions, and these were the most intelligent I'd overheard. I found the experience extraordinary for two reasons.
One is that so many have been drawn to this mystical abstract artist who lacked flamboyance in her work, work that is not even easily understood on its most superficial level, let alone its most profound. Or maybe I'm very, very wrong. The crowds seem to indicate that.
Threw in some photos that are very Un-Agnes-like or certainly unlike what most folks think a typical Martin painting looks like. The non-grid ones came early when she associated with some of the most influential Abstract Expressionists and I see traces of Rothko and Newman and Reinhardt, but then this truly singular artistwent solo become Agnes Martin in the truest sense.
By Elin Lake-Ewald, P.hD, FRICS, ASA; President of O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates Inc.