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Artists Walter de Maria
Walter de Maria Photo

Walter de Maria

American Sculptor and Conceptual Artist

Movements and Styles: Earth Art, Post-Minimalism, Conceptual Art

Born: October 1, 1935 - Albany, CA

Died: July 25, 2013 - Los Angeles, CA

Walter de Maria Timeline

Quotes

"I like natural disasters and I think that they may be the highest form of art possible to experience."
Walter de Maria
"Every good work should have at least ten meanings."
Walter de Maria
"So the thing is that I think the geography's the most important thing."
Walter de Maria
"I think had I been brought up a second generation Italian American in New York City or in Philadelphia or Boston or an eastern city, I probably would not have been an artist, I probably would not have had the range of experience that I have had living in California because of the great openness of California."
Walter de Maria

"I think to be a true minimalist you should almost nearly be invisible yourself."

Walter de Maria Signature

Synopsis

Walter de Maria bridged multiple movements of artistic practice that blossomed in the 1960s creating interactive sculptural installations and providing conceptual underpinnings to larger-scale sculptural work. In later projects he also connected viewers to nature by either embedding visual elements in nature itself, or by bringing components of nature inside gallery spaces. His most ambitious works were not only physically large-scale but also extreme in terms of exhibition duration - some lasting decades, whether indoors or out, conversely some were exceptionally ephemeral because they were exposed to the elements. His active participation in non-visual musical performances were similarly minimalist and large-scale and helped lay the foundations for later generations of musical performers using those characteristics.

Key Ideas

As an early proponent of Minimalism, de Maria invested heavily in unusually stripped down, fundamental visual forms including everything from simple, yet bold lines to other abstract geometric shapes - channeling his study of the Eastern philosophical emphasis on simplicity.
Perhaps most significantly, he developed a conceptual approach to earth-based works that both used the landscape as immersive "canvas" in what were exceptionally large-scale projects for his time, and also brought aspects of nature inside to force attention on the viewers' relationship to it in insistent ways that transcended previous representations by other artists.
He was also influential on generations of the musical avant-garde, drawing on his studies in jazz and leanings toward a stripped down aesthetic to perform and develop intensely minimalist and conceptualist approaches to making sound which influenced composers and performers from La Monte Young to Sonic Youth.

Biography

Walter de Maria Photo

Childhood and Education

Walter de Maria was born in Albany, California, just across the bay from San Francisco. His parents owned a local restaurant and were socially active in the community, but their son was shy and focused on music as an early creative outlet. He learned to play the piano initially, and then moved on to perform on percussion instruments. He was also fond of cars and sports, which were among the first subjects for his drawings

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Walter de Maria Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Walter de Maria
Interactive chart with Walter de Maria's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

John CageJohn Cage
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Henry MooreHenry Moore
David ParkDavid Park

Personal Contacts

Simone FortiSimone Forti
Robert MorrisRobert Morris
Robert WhitmanRobert Whitman
La Monte YoungLa Monte Young

Movements

DadaDada
FluxusFluxus
MinimalismMinimalism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Earth ArtEarth Art

Influences on Artist
Walter de Maria
Walter de Maria
Years Worked: 1961 - 2013
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Robert SmithsonRobert Smithson
Dennis OppenheimDennis Oppenheim
Michael HeizerMichael Heizer
James TurrellJames Turrell

Personal Contacts

Robert SmithsonRobert Smithson
Robert WhitmanRobert Whitman
La Monte YoungLa Monte Young

Movements

MinimalismMinimalism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Earth ArtEarth Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Laura Fiesel

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Laura Fiesel
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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