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Artist Marden’s Abstract Paintings Evolve over 50 Years

Artist Brice Marden's abstract works have evolved over the past 50 years, from minimalist monochrome single-panel paintings in the 1960s to elaborate calligraphy in the 1980s. Jeffrey Brown reports on Marden's life, work and latest exhibition.

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  • BRICE MARDEN, Artist:

    It should be moving. I mean, it should look as though you can follow the movement through.


    The abstract paintings of Brice Marden are actually about many things: color, the light that comes streaming through the windows of his studio, shapes and landscapes he's seen, ideas and people in his life, the material nature of paint itself.


    As the paint builds up, the paint becomes much more important, in the way the line starts moving in space.


    Marden, who is 68, has been at this since the 1960s and achieved great success. Now his work is the subject of a major traveling retrospective of paintings and drawings that began at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

    There, one can chart the evolution so far of an artist dubbed by the New Yorker magazine as the most profound abstract painter of the past four decades.

    What experience does he want us to have in looking at his work?


    A complicated visual experience.


    A complicated visual experience?


    You're forced to look at things and think about things and the way they look in a much more complicated way. I mean, this stuff is called fine art, you know, because the fine artist is supposed to really be thinking very intensely about a depth of visual experience.