While Agnes Martin’s retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum is a testament to her legacy, the show also operates as a subtle celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the museum. Because Martin’s work relies so heavily on the physical space of the viewer, the Guggenheim’s architecture has truly elevates her work to the level of a spiritual encounter.
Walking up the ramp, the spectator grows with Martin. The passage of time is articulated through the swirl of the museum, as the oldest works are located at the bottom of the rotunda and the rest of her oeuvre is positioned in chronological order. The shape of the Guggenheim dictates the experience of Martin’s work and reveals the evolution of her artistic processes, as well as the shift in her conceptual intentions.
Agnes Martin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016–January 11, 2017. Photo: David Heald