Agnes Martin’s has work has been widely exhibited and written about. Her fascinating life has been well documented in biographies that tell the story of a determined Canadian-born American artist who fought her way into the highest levels of the art world. For most of her professional life, Martin followed a rigid set of self-imposed rules for her art, yet her paintings have motivated seemingly limitless analysis and interpretations over the years and produced a rich body of literature.
Martin participated in her first exhibition in 1948 at the University of New Mexico. From then until the end of her life in 2004 she was included in hundreds of group and solo exhibitions all over the world. Her work continues to be well represented in major museums over a decade after her death.
Seventh Annual Exhibition by Members of the Art Faculty, Fine Art Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1948.
Albuquerque Museum of Modern Art, New Mexico.
June 12, Annual Exhibition for New Mexico Artists, Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.
November, Emma Lou Davis and Agnes Martin, Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.
February 26–April 7, Taos Moderns, Jonson Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
December 2–20, Agnes Martin, Section Eleven, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.
March 20–May 13, Geometric Abstraction in America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
November 27–December 15, Agnes Martin, Robert Elkon Gallery, New York.
February 25–April 25, The Responsive Eye, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Travelled to St. Louis City Art Museum, Missouri, May 20–June 20; Seattle Art Museum, Washington, July 15–August 23; Pasadena Art Museum, California, September 25–November 7; Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, December 14, 1965–January 23, 1966.
September 21–November 27, Systemic Painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
October 4–29, 10, Dwan Gallery, New York. Travelled to Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, May 2–29, 1968.
April 20–May 25, Agnes Martin, School of Visual Arts Gallery, New York.
June 30–October 8, documenta 5, Neue Galerie Schöne Aussicht, Kassel; Museum Fridericianum Friedrichsplatz, Kassel, Germany.
January 22–March 1, Agnes Martin, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Travelled to Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, California, April 3–May 27.
October 1974–September 1975, Inaugural Exhibition, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
March 1–April 1, Agnes Martin: New Paintings, Pace Gallery, New York.
January 23, Gabriel, Leo S. Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
February 15–April 3, 1977 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1957-1975, organized by Arts Council of Great Britain, London. Travelled to Hayward Gallery, London, March 2–April 24; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, May 13–June 19.
June 24–October 2, documenta 6, Kassel, Germany.
July 2–October 15, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice.
March 18–April 6, Agnes Martin, organized by Pace Gallery, Wichita State University, Kansas. Travelled to Denver Art Museum, Colorado, May 24–June 29; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California, August 15–September 28; Seattle Art Museum, Washington, November 13–December 31; Portland Art Museum, Oregon, January–February 1981; Akron Art Institute, Ohio, March 14–May 10, 1981; Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, June 2–August 2, 1981; Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, August 29–October 11, 1981; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, November 13–December 20, 1981.
June 1–September 30, 1980, La Biennale di Venezia, 39th International Arts Exhibition, Section of Visual Arts, American Pavilion, Venice.
February 23–March 14, Agnes Martin, organized by Glenbow-Alberta Institute, Calgary, Alberta, and the Mendel Art Gallery Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal.
May 16–July 6, The Sixth Biennale of Sydney: Origins, Originality + Beyond, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
January 31–February 28, The Idea of North, 49th Parallel, Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, New York.
October 25, 1989–February 25, 1990, Agnes Martin / Donald Judd, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
March 22–May 12, Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1974–1990, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Travelled to Museum Wiesbaden, Germany, May 26–July 21; Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany, August 4–October 6; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, October 24, 1991–January 6, 1992.
November 6, 1992–January 31, 1993, Agnes Martin, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Travelled to Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, February 12–April 4, 1993; Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, May 22–August 1, 1993; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, September 10–October 31, 1993; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, November 16, 1993–February 21, 1994; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, March 26–May 15, 1994.
January 16–February 13, Indiana, Kelly, Martin, Rosenquist, Youngerman at Coenties Slip, Pace Gallery, 142 Greene Street, New York.
September 8–October 24, Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1977–1991, Serpentine Gallery, London.
April 15–June 18, Agnes Martin, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan. Travelled as Matrix / Agnes Martin to University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California, July 12–September 24.
March 14–May 25, The Innocence of Trees: Agnes Martin and Emily Carr, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
June 15–November 9, La Biennale di Venezia, Future, Present, Past, 47th International Arts Exhibition, Venice.
October 19, 1997–June 1, 1998, The Guggenheim Museums and the Art of This Century, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain.
October 31, Permanent installation opened, Agnes Martin Gallery, Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico, Taos.
April 26–August 2, Agnes Martin / Richard Tuttle, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. Travelled to SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 15–October 18.
February 1–May 26, Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond, Menil Collection, Houston.
June 1–August 7, The Shape of Colour, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
June 12–November 6, La Biennale di Venezia, The Experience of Art, 51st International Exhibition, Venice.
December 1, 2006–February 25, 2007, Art Metropole: The Top 100, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
June 16–September 23, 2007, documenta 12, Kassel, Germany.
May 27, 2009–February 21, 2011, Elles@centrepompidou: Artists Femmes dans la Collection du Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre de Création Industrielle, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris.
February 12, 2010–ongoing , Agnes Martin, Dia:Beacon, New York.
September 22, 2010–January 2, 2011, Agnes Martin: Work Ethic, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
October 30, 2010–February 13, 2011, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Travelled to Brooklyn Museum, New York, November 18, 2011–February 12, 2012; Tacoma Art Museum, Washington, March 17–June 10, 2012.
September 16–October 29, Agnes Martin, The ’80s: Grey Paintings, Pace Gallery, New York.
February 25–June 17, Agnes Martin: Before the Grid, Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico, Taos.
January 26–May 12, Agnes Martin: The New York–Taos Connection (1947–1957), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Travelled to Tacoma Art Museum, Washington, January 25–April 20, 2014. Travelled as Agnes Martin: The Early Years 1947–1957 to University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, September 13–December 15, 2013.
June 3–October 11, Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London. Travelled to Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, November 7, 2015–March 6, 2016; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April 24–September 11, 2016; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016–January 11, 2017.
September 30, 2016–January 29, 2017, Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Travelled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 19–September 10, 2017.
April 15–August 13, Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
September 22–December 21, Agnes Martin: The mind knows what the eye has not seen, Esker Foundation, Calgary, Alberta.
Selected Writings by the Artist
Martin began writing about her own art in the early 1970s, presenting an idiosyncratic view on life and art inspired by her own personal philosophy, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Christian traditions. Her collected writings were published in 1991 by the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.
Martin, Agnes. “The Untroubled Mind” in Agnes Martin. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 1973.
——. “Reflections.” Artforum, April 1973.
——. “Beginning No. 5 (On the Perfection Underlying Life).” In Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften, edited by Dieter Schwarz. Ostfildern, Germany: Cantz Verlag, 1991.
——. “Who’s Who: Agnes Martin.” Art in America, October 1983.
——. “What Is Real?” In Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1957–1975. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1977.
——. “On Coming to America.” In American Mosaic: The Immigrant Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It, edited by Joan Morrison and Charlotte Fox Zabusky. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1980.
——. “The Still and Silent in Art.” In Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften, edited by Dieter Schwarz. Ostfildern, Germany: Cantz Verlag, 1991.
Selected Critical Writings on the Artist’s Work
Martin’s work has been well recorded in critical writing. She has been the subject of two biographies, a catalogue raisonné, numerous exhibition catalogues, magazine articles, and reviews.
Agnes Martin. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 1973.
Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1957–1975. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1977.
Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings 1974–1990. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1991.
Agnes Martin. Regina, Saskatchewan: MacKenzie Art Gallery; Berkeley, California: University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 1995.
Agnes Martin: Before the Grid. Taos, New Mexico: Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico, 2012.
Alloway, Lawrence. “Agnes Martin.” Artforum, April 1973.
Auping, Michael. Agnes Martin / Richard Tuttle. Fort Worth, Texas: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1998.
Bell, Tiffany. Agnes Martin: Paintings. New York: Artifex Press, 2017.
Bellman, David. The Innocence of Trees: Emily Carr and Agnes Martin. Vancouver: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 2010.
Borden, Lizzie. “Early Work.” Artforum, April 1973.
Burckhardt, Edith. “Reviews and Previews: New Names This Month.” Art News, December 1958.
Campbell, Lawrence. “Reviews and Previews: Agnes Martin.” Art News, January 1960.
Cooke, Lynne, Karen Kelly, and Barbara Schröder, eds. Agnes Martin. New York: Dia Art Foundation; New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2011.
Edgar, Natalie. “Agnes Martin.” Art News, October 1961.
Eisler, Benita. “Profile: Life Lines.” New Yorker, January 25, 1993.
Fer, Briony. “Drawing Drawing: Agnes Martin’s Infinity.” In Women Artists at the Millennium. Cambridge, Massachusetts: October Books, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006.
Glimcher, Arne. Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances. London: Phaidon Press, 2012.
Gruen, John. “Agnes Martin: ’Everything, everything is about feeling…feeling and recognition.’” Art News, September 1976.
Gula, Kasha. “Review of Exhibitions: Agnes Martin at Pace.” Art in America, May–June 1975.
Haskell, Barbara. Agnes Martin. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1992.
Hudson, Suzanne. Agnes Martin: Night Sea. London: Afterall Books, 2016.
Johnston, Jill. “Reviews and Previews: Agnes Martin.” Art News, April 1965.
——. “Agnes Martin: Surrender & Solitude.” Village Voice, September 13, 1973. Reprinted in Jill Johnston, Admission Accomplished: The Lesbian Nation Years (1970–75). London: Serpent’s Tail, 1998.
——. “Agnes Martin, 1912–2004.” Art in America, March 2005.
Linville, Kasha. “Agnes Martin: An Appreciation.” Artforum, Summer 1971.
Lippard, Lucy. “The Silent Art.” Art in America, January–February 1967.
Martin, Henry. Pioneer, Painter, Icon. Tucson, AZ: Schaffner Press, 2018.
Michelson, Annette. “Agnes Martin: Recent Paintings.” Artforum, January 1967.
Morris, Frances, and Tiffany Bell, eds. Agnes Martin. London: Tate Publishing; New York: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2015.
Princenthal, Nancy. Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2015.
Rifkin, Ned. Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond. Houston: Menil Collection, 2002.
Rosenberger, Christina Bryan. Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2016.
Schwarz, Dieter, ed. Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften. Ostfildern, Germany: Cantz Verlag, 1991.
Woodman, Donald. Agnes Martin and Me. Brooklyn, New York: Lyon Artbooks, 2015.
Key Interviews with the Artist
Interviews give us a unique insight into Martin’s life and art. She often used them to communicate how she felt her work fitted into the broader movements of Abstraction in America.
Gruen, John. “Agnes Martin: ‘Everything, everything is about feeling…feeling and recognition’ (New York).” Art News, September 1976, 91–94.
Poirier, Maurice, and Jane Necol. “The ’60s in Abstract: 13 Statements and an Essay.” Art in America, October 1983, 132.
“Agnes Martin (May 15, 1989).” Interview by Suzan Campbell. Speaking of Art: Selections from the Archives of American Art Oral History Collection, 1958–2008. Washington, D.C.: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2008, 108–111.
“Agnes Martin: Interviewed by Irving Sandler.” Art Monthly, September 1993, 3–11.
Simon, Joan. “Perfection Is in the Mind: An Interview with Agnes Martin (Taos, New Mexico, August 21, 1995).” Art in America, May 1996, 83–124 (transcript).
Martin was associated with several movements of American Abstraction and important artists and dealers of her time.
Alloway, Lawrence. Systemic Painting. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1966.
Fer, Briony. The Infinite Line: Re-making Art After Modernism. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004.
Glimcher, Mildred. Indiana, Kelly, Martin, Rosenquist, Youngerman at Coenties Slip. New York: Pace Gallery, 1993.
Gordon, John. Geometric Abstraction in America. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1962.
Hall, Lee. Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1991.
Katz, Jonathan D., and David C. Ward. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with National Portrait Gallery, 2010.
Krauss, Rosalind. “Grids.” October, Summer 1979, 50–64.
Landau, Ellen G. ed. Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005.
Lippard, Lucy. “Top to Bottom, Left to Right.” Grids, Grids, Grids, Grids, Grids, Grids, Grids, Grids. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 1972.
Meyer, James. Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art; Chicago; London: In association with The University of Chicago Press, 2016.
Moos, David, ed. The Shape of Colour: Excursions in Colour Field Art 1950–2005. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2005.
Seitz, William C. The Responsive Eye. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1965.