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Walter De Maria, R.I.P.
July 26, 2013 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Walter De Maria, R.I.P. (LAT) The famed but reclusive sculptor and composer was 77. In a loving tribute, Jerry Saltz writes of De Maria's Earth Room (previously), and of the effect it had on him personally.
posted by Capt. Renault (22 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by From Bklyn at 1:37 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by steganographia at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lesser-known fact about de Maria is that he played drums in the Primitives, the group that Lou Reed and John Cale were in before forming the Velvet Underground. Here's an oral history done by the Smithsonian Institution where de Maria talks about it:

WDM: Well, I can't remember if it was '65 or '66, but I joined the Velvet Underground rock group and I met John Cale, Lou Reed and this was six months before they met Andy Warhol. This was when it was just a band and I would have stayed as the drummer of that band and this is very early, if you realize that the Beatles only came on the scene in '64, to be with a really all electrified guitar rock and roll band. It was a great band, the first band to have any drug lyrics and the first band to have heavy electronic feedback in it. I could have stayed with that band, I mean that would have been my band; that would have been a really great style. It was an acid rock band; it was a beautiful, really great band.

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posted by jonp72 at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by R. Mutt at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by scody at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by oulipian at 2:50 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by bashos_frog at 2:53 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lesser-known fact about de Maria is that he played drums in the Primitives, the group that Lou Reed and John Cale were in before forming the Velvet Underground.

... and also with The Insurrections, who came out of the same scene as the VU. A few w/De Maria: Missionary Stew, I Don't Wanna.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you're wondering about visiting the Lightning Field and whether it's worth the trek/expense/time, the answer is yes, yes, yes, oh my freaking god, yes. Definitely one to add to the bucket list.
posted by yoink at 4:00 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen the Lightning Field in person, but all the descriptions I've read focus on the sky and not the poles. It makes me wonder if De Maria's real genius was to get New York art types out to witness a desert sunset. Similarly, the Earth Room seems to me to be largely a play on the strange relationship that New Yorkers have with nature.
posted by nixt at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2013


I read somewhere that the Earth Room gets sprayed down with water once a week...wouldn't there be issues with mold? Is there a drainage system?
posted by anazgnos at 4:51 PM on July 26, 2013


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His work at Naoshima is just one reason why I love that place so much.
posted by Gotanda at 5:06 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by jrb223 at 5:41 PM on July 26, 2013


I haven't seen the Lightning Field in person, but all the descriptions I've read focus on the sky and not the poles.

The poles make you think about how you're seeing the sky, the hills, the surrounding land. They provide a context for the experience of perception. They also behave in amazing ways under the changing light conditions--appearing and disappearing, standing out blazingly clear at one moment and then almost disappearing at another. It's a truly fabulous experience.
posted by yoink at 5:48 PM on July 26, 2013


The Earth Room is great. (I have not yet been able to persuade my girlfriend of this.)
posted by Jahaza at 6:11 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by Wemmick at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2013


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posted by gwint at 8:04 PM on July 26, 2013


The moist earth is groomed by a caretaker.
posted by gac at 8:53 PM on July 26, 2013


That's odd - I do not remember inviting J Saltz into my brain.

De Maria's Earth Room - its massiveness and simplicity - made what was probably the most intense, cognitively dissonant/resonant of all my aimless-teenager-in-SoHo-galleries afternoons. (The Broken Kilometer didn't register as much, as immediately.)

I harbour a secret plan to make it out to the Lightning Field someday.

So . and: forever thanks.
posted by progosk at 2:53 AM on July 27, 2013


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posted by Chichibio at 6:09 AM on July 27, 2013


The Earth Room is the only place I always visit when I'm in New York, and it never disappoints. If I visit it again, it will be tinged with a level of sadness.

It'd be an amazing place to hide a body.
posted by Hogshead at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


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