press release

A towering figure in the history of minimal, conceptual, installation, and Land art, Walter De Maria has had a profound impact on contemporary art making. On display for the first time since its unveiling 30 years ago, Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 1986, will be presented as part of a unique installation alongside El Greco’s (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation, 1605–10.

Five years in production, De Maria’s Large Rod Series sculptures were drawn through custom-made dies, hand welded, machine ground, hand ground, and, finally, hand polished. Circle/Rectangle, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 is one of only ten works made by the artist between 1984 and 1989. While the strength and capacity of the material is unyielding, De Maria expanded the qualities of the works by allowing three formal installation configuration possibilities: Circle, Short Rectangle, or Long Rectangle. The series debuted in 1986 at the renowned Xavier Fourcade Gallery, New York, with a selection from the series installed at De Maria’s studio for by-appointment viewing only.

Generously on loan from the Meadows Museum, El Greco’s Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation is an iconic example of how the painter geometrized his compositions. Through expert modeling he achieved a perfect equilibrium between naturalism and agitated expressionism. Beyond the refined formal qualities of El Greco and De Maria, there is a connection to be made between the artists’ shared interest in systematic production.

Completing the installation is a programmed recording of Cricket Music, 1964, one of De Maria’s rare musical compositions. Experienced together, the sculpture, painting, and audio component form a new and distinctive meditation on themes of minimalism, geometry, progression, and sensory perception. Their installation in an encyclopedic museum draws parallels between artistic forms and iconographies of past and present.

Cricket Music can be heard each day in the exhibition at noon, 2pm, and 4pm. Duration 24 minutes, 34 seconds.