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Agnes Martin 1974: An Interview


1974 00:41:00 United StatesEnglishB&WMono4:3Video


Originally from Canada, Agnes Martin (1912-2004) moved to the U.S. in 1931. Martin lived in Taos, New Mexico from 1954 to 1957, and then moved to New York, where she established her name as an important minimalist painter. Her work differed conceptually from the minimalist movement in that it was anti-intellectual and intensely spiritual, and her grids represented meditative reflections on Taoism. For years, Martin worked only in black, white, and (occasionally) brown.  Her devotees consider her a visionary — an artist possessed of perceptive powers that have transformed her style into a heightened visual experience. Martin returned to New Mexico in 1967 where she lived and worked throughout her life.

"To be an artist, you look, you perceive, you recognize what is going through your mind, and that is not ideas. Everything you feel, everything you see, your whole life goes through your mind. You have to go with it and feel it and get in the right condition and get free of the mundane," the artist tells Kate Horsfield in this interview.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1974 in Cuba, New Mexico and re-edited in 2003 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund. 




About Blumenthal/Horsfield

Lyn Blumenthal has been recognized as a leading and innovative experimental feminist media artist and teacher. Her multi-disciplinary body of work included videos, sculpture, drawings and critical essays.  She forged new directions and objectives for the field of independent video—not only creating important video pieces, but also envisioning alternative video as a critical voice within the culture, capable of exposing the numerous foibles and blind spots of mainstream media. Committed to the application of feminist theory to video practice, Blumenthal’s early ’80s art tapes investigate issues of women’s identity and sexuality as a crisis of representation. Her tapes weave together stunning visuals and theoretical analysis, most with an incisive humor that tears away the veil from cultural institutions such as television and the family.  Blumenthal was co-director of the Video Data Bank with Kate Horsfield from its founding in 1976 until her death in 1988.

Kate Horsfield received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976 and in the same year co-founded the Video Data Bank with the late Lyn Blumenthal. Horsfield was Executive Director of the Video Data Bank from 1988 to 2006.  Horsfield and Blumenthal began their research in contemporary art in video by producing over 200 video interviews with contemporary artists, photographers and critics, including artists such as Lee Krasner, Romare Bearden, Alice Neel, Joseph Beuys, Buckminster Fuller, and Vito Acconci. This group of interviews has become one of the largest and most valuable primary collections of resource material on contemporary artists in the country.  Horsfield has also produced serveral thematic anthologies of video and collaborated with Nereyda Garcia-Ferraz on Ana Medieta: Fuego de Tierra.  From 1980 to 1999, she taught courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Texas, Austin.  After her retirement from Video Data Bank in 2006, Horsfield has split her time between New York, NY and Austin, TX.