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b. 1939, USA

Larry Bell Biography

Larry Bell is an American sculptor and painter whose impressive body of work can be viewed across a single developmental arc of improvisation, experimentation and impulse. In an interview with Ocula, the artist said: 'I consider my work to be evidence of my studies and the externalisation of a current thought. It is also about intuition, improvisation and spontaneity; these elements all impact the final result.’ Bell's work also explores the relationship between light and surface, and also space, context and the viewer. This is especially apparent in his well-known glass cube series, which play with perspective, space and surface.

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Beginning as an artist much aware of Abstract Expressionism, Bell began to incorporate simple geometric forms and pieces of glass and mirrors into his paintings, making spatially complex collages that created a certain dimensional dissonance. This experimentation with surfaces eventually allowed him to fully explore the possibility-rich relationship between light and the surfaces it touches. His glass cubes began with having thin film added to their glass panels by means of vacuum deposition, portraying different ways of light interacting with glass. These cubes play with the notion of space, and also mass and volume, giving the impression that the works are suspended in the air. Bell continued to push the boundaries of his materials, commissioning a device that coated surfaces more effectively, allowing for glass to be reflective, transmitting and absorbing of light all at once. He applied this technique to large glass sheets that were at once reflective and transparent that could both reveal and deceive, and be rearranged into multiple variations, such as in his 1974 work The Iceberg and It’s Shadow, made up of 56 large panels.

Bell has also incorporated these thin film deposition techniques onto other media such as on paper for his Vapour Drawings. His Light Knot series involve twisted, almost weightless forms of mylar film coated in thin metallic film hung from the ceiling, and moved and spun by even the slightest air movement.

Bell studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (now a part of the California Institute of the Arts) and he has participated in numerous institutional exhibitions, including the 1965 exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; as well as in exhibitions at the Guggenheim International, 1967; documenta 4 in 1968; and the Venice Biennale in 1976. He has enjoyed numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Pasadena Art Museum, 1972; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1986; and Carré d’Art Musée d’art Contemporain de Nîmes, France, 2011. Bell also has his works in permanent collections such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Art Institute, Chicago; Denver Art Museum, Denver; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Larry Bell lives and works between Taos, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.

Larry Bell Featured Artworks

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Mirage Work AAAAA113 by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellMirage Work AAAAA113, 2007Paper
120.5 x 82.5 x 12 cm
Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie Contact Gallery
Glacier by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellGlacier, 1999Pink rosa tinted glass, azure blue tinted glass, light grey tinted glass, clear glass
40.6 x 74.9 x 88.9 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Untitled by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellUntitled, 1985Vacuum coated glass, 5 parts
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
MSMS #154 by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellMSMS #154, 1994Mixed media on canvas
106.6 x 106.6 cm
Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie Contact Gallery
Cube #41 by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellCube #41, 2007Glass coated with inconel
38.1 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellUntitled, 1970Glass with mineral coating
5.1 x 289.6 cm
Pace Gallery
Cube 59 by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellCube 59, 2007Glass coated with inconel and silicon monoxide and clear glass
38.1 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Cube 29 by Larry Bell contemporary artwork
Larry BellCube 29, 2008Glass coated with inconel and silicon monoxide
30.5 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery

Larry Bell Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Larry Bell, Still Standing at Hauser & Wirth, New York
Closed
6–31 July 2020 Larry Bell Still Standing Hauser & Wirth, 22nd St, New York22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Stronger Than Language at Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz
Closed
11 June–5 July 2020 Group Exhibition Stronger Than Language Hauser & Wirth, St. MoritzSt. Moritz
Contemporary art exhibition, Larry Bell, Still Standing at Hauser & Wirth, New York
Closed
20 February–11 April 2020 Larry Bell Still Standing Hauser & Wirth, 22nd St, New York22nd Street, New York

Larry Bell Represented By

Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, Zurich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz
Templon contemporary art gallery in 30 rue Beaubourg, Paris, France Templon Paris, Brussels

Larry Bell In Ocula Magazine

Armory Week Lowdown: Art Shows to See Ocula Report Armory Week Lowdown: Art Shows to See By Casey Carsel, New York

After structural issues forced The Armory Show into last-minute relocation pirouettes last year, the fair returns between 5 and 8 March 2020 with a flourishing programme, complemented by stand-out shows across New York City.

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Larry Bell talks spontaneous improvisation Ocula Insight Larry Bell talks spontaneous improvisation By Anna Dickie and Stephanie Bailey

In 2016, artist Larry Bell gave a talk in the Swire Properties Lounge at Art Basel in Hong Kong, where he described his work as a 'spontaneous improvisation'. It is a surprising description when thinking about the work he is best known for: slick glass cube works including Pacific Red (2016), which comprises three large-scale reflective glass...

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Larry Bell In Related Press

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Too Big for a Booth? Art Basel Still Has Room for Your Art Related Press Too Big for a Booth? Art Basel Still Has Room for Your Art 11 June 2019, The New York Times

Since it was begun in 2000, Unlimited, which is offered only at the fair in Basel, has proved to be a particularly popular draw. Most people attending the fair–there were 95,000 last year–are expected to visit the section, not only for the sheer wow factor of the works, but also for the relevance of its offerings. 'I often tell people that...

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Preview Art Basel 2019 Related Press Preview Art Basel 2019 7 June 2019, ARTnews

Art Basel 2019 opens to the public on Thursday, June 13, with two preview days, on June 11 and 12. Some 290 galleries from 34 countries will show work at the Swiss fair, which runs through June 16.

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A User’s Guide to the Whitney Biennial Related Press A User’s Guide to the Whitney Biennial 13 March 2017, The New York Times

Everything had to be reinvented for the 2017 Whitney Biennial — the first to take place in the new riverside home of the Whitney Museum. But then, this leading showcase of contemporary American art feels refreshed in other ways, too.

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Moses, Ruscha, Bell, Bengston: Backstage with the Cool School of artists, cooler than ever Related Press Moses, Ruscha, Bell, Bengston: Backstage with the Cool School of artists, cooler than ever 23 January 2017, Los Angeles Times

It’s dark backstage as artists Ed Moses, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell and Billy Al Bengston get miked up to appear before a packed house at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The glow of house lights seeps in from the stage wings and the audible bustle of audience members settling into their seats fills the tiny backstage nook. Pre-show suspense hangs in...

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Larry Bell In Video & Audio

Larry Bell. Venice Fog: Recent Investigations, Hauser & Wirth Zürich Related Video & Audio Larry Bell. Venice Fog: Recent Investigations, Hauser & Wirth Zürich 17 January 2018, Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell talks about Venice Fog: Recent Investigations, an exhibition of new laminated glass works with colour combinations inspired by the marine fog which rolls into Venice CA, the location of his studio since the early 1960s. Bell’s understanding of the potential of glass and light allows him to expand visual and physical fields of...

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