"The transparent objects admit your gaze. The space inside them is a continuation of the space you occupy, simply inflected with misty tones. The works are echt minimalist in that they are understood almost before they are seen. Mystery-free, they leave you nothing to be conscious of except yourself, affected by their presence."
- Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker
Larry Bell was born in 1939 and lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Taos, New Mexico. Bell attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA, from 1957 to 1959. Bell is a recipient of multiple recognitions, among them the Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts, Santa Fe, NM (1990); the Guggenheim Fellowship (1970); and grants from the Copley Foundation (1962) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1975).
Throughout his career, Larry Bell has made investigations into the properties of light on surface. By experimenting with the nature of surface and its relationship to space, Larry Bell has devised a methodology characterized by spontaneity, intuition and improvisation.
Bell began his career in 1959 and his earliest works consisted of abstract, monochrome paintings on paper and shaped canvases whose outlines corresponded to the silhouette of a box drawn in isometric projection. Panes of glass and then mirrors were substituted for parts of the painted design and this exploration of spatial ambiguity eventually evolved into sculptural constructions made of wood and glass. These works represent the genesis of Bell’s later glass cubes and standing glass-panel wall sculptures.,
From 1963 onward, Bell began exploring the passing of light through the cube sculptures, deploying a technique of vacuum deposition whereby thin films were added to the clear glass panels. Bell found that these glass cubes, presented on transparent pedestals, offered the viewer the essence of the captured light, becoming, in the process, tapestries of reflected, transmitted and absorbed light. Challenging notions of mass, volume and gravity in one single measure, the cubes appeared to float on the light between the floor and the work.
Larry Bell has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at such institutions as the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO; Carré d’Art Musée d’art Contemporain de Nimes, France; The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Fort Worth Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA; Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA; and The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM. Group exhibitions include Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, Tate Britain, London, 1970; 11 Los Angeles Artists, Hayward Gallery, London, 1971; Geometric Abstraction and Minimalism in America, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1989; Phenomenal, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, 2011; Continuum: Light, Space & Time, The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM, 2016; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2017; and Seeking Stillness, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 2017.
Selected public collections include The Anderson Collection of Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.