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Agnes Martin is dead

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She died last Thursday at 92 in Taos, New Mexico.

Martin (above, in 1991 at the age of 79), was a solitary, retiring artist who lived alone her entire adult life.

In 1967, just when her New York career was taking off, she abruptly left the city, wandered the country for months in a pickup and camper, and stopped making art for seven years.

She finally settled in New Mexico, where she built an adobe house with her own hands on a remote mesa where in winter she was snowed in for weeks at a time.

She also wrote: her collected epigrams and lectures were collected into a 1992 book entitled “Writings.”

I just ordered it.

She wanted no memorial service or eulogies.

She left no survivors.

Some of her thoughts:

    When I think of art, I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in the mind.

    One thing I like about Zen: it doesn’t believe in achievement. I don’t think the way to succeed is by doing something aggressive. Aggression is weak-minded.

    The value of art is in the observer. When you find out what you like, you’re really finding out about yourself. Beethoven’s music is joyous. If you like his music, you know that you like to be joyful. People who look at my painting say that it makes them happy, like the feeling when you wake up in the morning. And happiness is the goal, isn’t it?

Here’s her obituary from yesterday’s Washington Post, and Friday’s from the New York Times.

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