October 26, 2020 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

Masthead image Menu

Panoramic photo by Tina Larkin

The Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum of Art is an octagonal gallery with an oculus installed overhead, and four yellow Donald Judd benches placed directly under the oculus. The gallery was designed according to the artist's wishes in order to accommodate Martin's gift of seven large paintings made between 1993 and 1994,  when Martin returned to Taos. Frequently visiting the gallery, Martin would sit on one of the benches made by her good friend and quietly take in the space and paintings. Scholars have compared the Harwood Museum of Art's Agnes Martin Gallery to the Matisse Chapel in Vence, Corbusier's Chapel of Notre Dame du haut in Ronchamp, and the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

Agnes Martin (1912-2004) is one of America’s foremost abstract painters. Martin worked during a pivotal time in American art history. Although her work is often placed in the Minimalist camp because of its close association with work by other Minimalist artists, Martin resisted this label, insisting that she was an Abstract Expressionist painter. Martin’s passionate insistence on conveying emotional content rather than ideas - along with her unaffected striving for inspired inner truth, beauty and perfection - indeed place her within the aesthetic of Abstract Expressionism.  The Whitney Museum of American Art is the only other museum that owns a series of Agnes Martin paintings meant to be exhibited together.

The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico has a long and important connection with the career of internationally renowned artist Agnes Martin. In 1946, after a five-year focus on teaching, Martin enrolled in the University of New Mexico, studying art. She spent the summer of 1947 enrolled in the UNM Field School in Taos, and lived sporadically in Taos between 1953 and 1957. Martin returned to New Mexico in 1968 and to Taos in 1993, where she lived until her death in December 2004. The Harwood's Agnes Martin Gallery was inaugurated in 1993.

Agnes Martin Before the Grid

Remarkable Women of Taos

Go here to view a time lapse film created by Ollie Bell documenting a day in the life of the Harwood's Agnes Martin Gallery.