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Diane Arbus
Agnes Martin, N.Y.C.
1966
Gelatin silver print

10 3/4 x 10 3/8 inches
Gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker/Pisano Collection

Chazen Museum of Art

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971), Agnes Martin, 1966. Silver Print, 18 x 17 in. Gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker/Pisano Collection, 2012.1.50 Chazen Museum of Art, Madison

Agnes Martin sits in her near-empty studio, resting calmly with her hands folded in her lap, staring out at the camera with an expression both alert and content. While her paint-splattered clothing suggests the active gestures of a painter, her modest gesture and sparse surroundings imply an aesthetic language of restraint. The quiet setting is blurred as the camera focuses on the figure of the artist. Martin herself is framed by the gridded back-supports of paintings that we cannot see while the lines of the floor lead our eye into the deep background of blank whites and diffuse darkness. Through its techniques of focus and composition, the photograph produces an experience analogous to the abstracting effects of Martin’s spare lines and grids. The abstracting effects of the photograph suggest the power of abstraction to exceed and undermine the potential reductions of the conventions of the photographic portrait and the classifications of the archive.

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Related Works:

Agnes Martin, N.Y.C., 1966
Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Artist: Diane Arbus (American, New York 1923–1971 New York)
Printer: Neil Selkirk (American, born 1947)
Person in Photograph: Agnes Martin (American (born Canada), Macklin, Saskatchewan 1912–2004 Taos, New Mexico)
Date: 1966
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Image: 37.7 × 37.9 cm (14 13/16 × 14 15/16 in.) Sheet: 50.8 × 40.6 cm (20 × 16 in.)
[image not reproduced]

Related Information (www.metmuseum.org):

Diane Arbus: Collection, Exhibitions, Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The New Documentary Tradition in Photography, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Early Documentary Photography, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Diane Arbus: Revelations, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York [Exhibition 03/08-05/30/2005]

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Additional Information

Diane Arbus: Statement/Biography

Diane Arbus: Related Links on Art in Context

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Diane Arbus, American, (1923-1971)
b. March 14, 1923, New York, NY
d. 1971

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: March 14





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