Walter De Maria

Albany, California, USA
1935 – 2013

Walter De Maria was born in Albany, near Berkeley in California in 1935, and studied Painting and Art at the University of California. He moved to New York in 1960, where he briefly ran a gallery, Great Jones Street, with Robert Whitman. In 1965-66 he became percussionist in the band that was to become the The Velvet Underground, but left the band shortly before Andy Warhol became the manager. He had his first solo exhibition outside of Great Jones Street at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in 1965.

Key solo exhibitions include Beds of Spikes, Dwan Gallery, New York (1969), Skulpturen, Kunstmuseum Basel (1972) and 360 Degree I Ching/64 Sculpture, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1981). The 2000 Sculpture, an installation consisting of 2000 white polygons, was shown at Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich (1992), Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Hamburg, Staatlische Museum zu Berlin, Berlin (2000) and more recently at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012). Other recent solo exhibitions include Silver Meters, Gold Meters, Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, NY (2010) and Triologies, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2012). Key group exhibitions include American Sculpture of the Sixties, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA / Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA (1966), Primary Structures, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY (1966), Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1967), Documenta 6, Kassel, (1968) and Live in Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (1969). In 2013, When Attitudes Become Form was recreated at Fondazione Prada for the 55th Venice Biennale (2013).

Long-term installations include The New York Earth Room (1977), The Broken Kilometer (1979) and The Lightning Field (1977), all commissioned and maintained by the Dia Art Foundation, New York. The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), companion to The Broken Kilometer, is permanently installed in Kassel, Germany. Magasin III had a solo exhibition with Walter De Maria in 1988, shortly after the museum first opened. The following year, his work was also shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His work was also included in the exhibition Thrice Upon a Time at Magasin III (2009- 2010). Along with his sculptures and land art, Walter De Maria made two musical compositions The Ocean Music, for Ocean and Drums (1968) and The Cricket Music, for Crickets and Drums (1964), and two short films: Three Circles and Two Lines in the Desert and Hard Core (both 1969). He won the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1969, and in 1998 he made the monument to the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, a large sphere of polished granite that now stands outside the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.

Walter De Maria died in 2013 in Los Angeles, California.