Walter De Maria

Date: March, 2018

Walter De Maria’s six-decade career made lasting and profound contributions to contemporary art. A vanguard force within four major twentieth-century art movements—Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptualism, and Installation Art—De Maria drew upon both mathematical absolutes and elements of the sublime in his large-scale sculptures and installations.

De Maria’s sculptural practice developed in New York during the 1960s. Expanding upon the Minimalist notion of implicating the art space, his work pushed the boundaries of the traditional white cube. “Mile Long Drawing,” (1968) in California’s Mojave Desert, “The New York Earth Room,” (1977, first executed in Munich in 1968), and “The Lightning Field,” (1977) in New Mexico explored the relationship between art and the natural environment. The geometric themes and principles of measuring and numbering which first appeared in his early work came to define De Maria’s sculpture. Over the decades, De Maria created many site-specific installations using repeated geometric shapes in a variety of mediums and sizes. His mathematical and methodical sculpture, simple in form and presentation, fosters a heightened awareness of the surrounding world.

Walter De Maria was born in 1935 in Albany, California, and died in 2013 in Los Angeles, California. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1953 to 1959, where he received his B.A. in History and his M.A. in Art. De Maria’s work has been shown extensively around the world in numerous solo and group exhibitions.