The Lightning Field, The New York Earth Room, The Broken Kilometer, The Vertical Earth Kilometer—pretty much enough to justify declaring Walter De Maria, who died last week at the age of 77, one of the most inventive, coolest artists of the past 50 years. But then you find out that he played drums in an early incarnation of the Velvet Underground, when the group was known as the Primitives? Crazy stuff.
The start of the art season is certainly exciting. Hundreds of galleries are opening new shows around town. Friends, colleagues, enemies are catching up, reuniting in this great city. But just as exciting is news that the Dia Art Foundation’s two glorious long-term Walter De Maria exhibitions in Soho, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), are back on view after a summer break. (The foundation does some maintenance of the soil in the Earth Room during those months, as we reported back in June.) They opened up to the public today. They’re free. They’re glorious—perfect respites from the bustle of Soho.
The New York Earth Room, the long-running installation in a SoHo loft by artist Walter De Maria cared for by the Dia Art Foundation, will be closing for its annual summer break on June 10—that’s tomorrow.
And in another item from Carol Vogel’s Inside Art column in The New York Times: the Dia Foundation has just begun a campaign to repair and better conserve Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field, originally commissioned by that organization and completed in 1977.