Beacon, NY, January 27, 2021 – Dia is pleased to announce a new display of sculpture by Larry Bell opening at Dia Beacon on March 12, 2022. Since the early 1960s Bell has explored the interplay between light, color, and volume through the medium of glass. As a leading figure of Southern California’s Light and Space movement, Bell has used new materials and techniques to investigate how the perceptual experience of a sculpture in its environment unfolds for the spectator.
“Seen in these naturally litgalleries designed by Bell’s friend and contemporary in Los Angeles, Robert Irwin, these sculptures offer insight into Bell’s unique and groundbreaking understanding of the potential of glass as a medium,” said Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg Director. “We also see the arc of his practice, from some of his earliest works utilizing cutting-edge technology in the 1960s to his expansive exploration of color today.”
Bell’s earliest sculptures were simple geometric objects placed flush to the edge of clear acrylic pedestals that gave them the appearance of floating in space. Made of translucent colored glass, these relatively small cubes’ surfaces were often marked with geometric or elliptical patterns that framed space and filtered light dynamically. As Bell experimented with increasing the size of these cubic volumes, his attention shifted to how color appears most concentrated along their edges and corners. In a step crucial to this development, in 1965 he purchased a vacuum coating chamber that allowed him to animate large glass surfaces with metallic particles. Standing Walls (1968), one of the artist’s first freestanding sculptures, isolates and magnifies the corner effect through its composition of large alternating panels of clear and gray glass placed at right angles to form a zigzagging structure that viewers can fully move around.
This exhibition brings together a focused selection of key early sculptures alongside a work newly conceived for Dia Beacon, Duo Nesting Boxes (2021). This diptych combines the open-form autonomy of Bell’s standing walls with the geometry of his signature cubes. Bell’s Duo Nesting Boxes enfolds enlarged cubes within standing walls, creating a perceptually enveloping effect of richly saturated blues and greens, resulting from the physical layering of colors in space.
“Over the course of his five-decade-long career, Larry Bell has continuously expanded upon the possibilities of glass as a medium. The works on view at Dia Beacon highlight his forays into the limits of perception, as the glass reflects and absorbs light, drawing in the viewer with richly saturated color,” said Alexis Lowry, curator.
Larry Bell is made possible by generous support from Hauser & Wirth and Graham Steele. Additional support provided by Anthony Meier and a Board Discretionary Grant of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Special thanks to Kvadrat.
Larry Bell is organized by Alexis Lowry, curator, and Zuna Maza, curatorial assistant, Dia Art Foundation.
About Larry Bell
Larry Bell was born in 1939 in Chicago. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute (now known as California Institute of the Arts) from 1957 to 1959. A leading figure of southern California’s Light and Space movement, Bell turned to glass as a sculptural medium in the early 1960s. His earliest sculptures were simple glass cubes placed flush to the edge of pedestals. Out of these objects, the artist’s work expanded into increasingly large and perceptually complex arrangements of freestanding panels. The artist has been featured in numerous solo presentations including at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon, France; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His notable recognitions include a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975), National Endowment for the Arts grant (1975), and the Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (1990). Bell lives between Venice Beach, California, and Taos.
Dia Art Foundation
Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and long-standing relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and ’70s.
In addition to Dia Beacon, Dia Bridgehampton, and Dia Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally. These include:
- Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, inaugurated in 1982 and ongoing), all of which are located in New York
- De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico
- Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in the Great Salt Lake, Utah
- Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973–76) in the Great Basin Desert, Utah
- De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany
For additional information or materials, contact:
Hannah Gompertz, Dia Art Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 212 293 5598
Melissa Parsoff, Parsoff Communications, email@example.com, +1 516 445 5899 (US press inquiries)
Sam Talbot, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 772 5184 630 (international press inquiries)