Emerging in the mid-1960s during the rise of Minimalism, Larry Bell is a pioneer of Perceptualism and has long been associated with the West Coast Light and Space artists. In 1966, Bell’s work was presented in Primary Structures, the first exhibition to focus on Minimal art and organized by the Jewish Museum in New York. Central to his practice is optical sensation as well as a masterly exploitation of human perception—offering viewers playful, complex experiences that question the limits of their vision. Dedicated to using light as a medium, Bell creates elusive, seductive objects that rely on light in order to “perform.”
His widely acclaimed glass cubes—initially relatively small and exhibited on pedestals—both reflect and absorb light to create sensuous, interwoven experiences of mirroring and transparency. Art historian Jack Burnham has described these works as “constructions which nearly dissolve into invisibility in the feat of optical titillation.” The artist’s move to Taos in the mid-1970s sparked his interest in public art, and he began to conceive more expansive and sizeable work. Over the decades, his classic boxes have become larger, more complex, and enhanced in their saturation of color and intensity. For his AAM presentation, Bell will install a new sculptural diptych, Aspen Blues (2018), in the AAM’s Roof Deck Sculpture Garden.