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Large-scale sculpture comprised of 2000 white polygonal shaped rods on view at LACMA
Walter De Maria, The 2000 Sculpture, 1992. Collection of Walter A. Bechtler-Siftung, Switzerland. Photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Walter De Maria’s The 2000 Sculpture, a large-scale horizontal sculpture comprised of 2000 white polygonal shaped rods arranged in a herringbone patterned grid on the floor according to a meticulous logic. A pioneering figure in the development of minimal, conceptual, land art, and installation art, De Maria has made minimalist horizontal sculptures that occupy entire rooms since 1969. Measuring 10 x 50 meters (approximately 33 x 164 feet), The 2000 Sculpture was first exhibited at the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1992. It is one of a series of works by De Maria featuring groupings of ordered elements using precise measurements, among them: The Lightning Field (1977), The Broken Kilometer (1979), and 360° I Ching (1981). In the year 2000, The 2000 Sculpture was shown again at the Kunsthaus Zurich and also in Berlin at the Hamburger Bahnhof. In 2010 LACMA installed the sculpture in the Resnick Pavilion, prior to the building’s official opening, in order to take advantage of the play of light and vast open space of Renzo Piano’s gallery building before the interior walls were installed. Seen by a small group of selected visitors, the initial installation of The 2000 Sculpture in the Resnick Pavilion represented an ideal relationship between sculpture and architecture. The current presentation is the first official public exhibition of The 2000 Sculpture at LACMA and only the second solo museum exhibition of De Maria’s work in the United States.

Walter De Maria was born October 1, 1935, in Albany, California, near San Francisco. In 1957, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his MFA in painting two years later. De Maria and his friend, the avant-garde composer La Monte Young, participated in Happenings and theatrical productions in the San Francisco area.

In 1960, De Maria moved to New York, where he wrote essays on art, which were published in 1963 in Young’s An Anthology, and took part in Happenings and multimedia presentations. In 1961, he made his first wooden box sculptures. De Maria and Robert Whitman opened the 9 Great Jones Street gallery in New York in 1963; the same year, De Maria’s first solo show of sculpture was presented there. Also in 1963, he worked as a drummer for the rock group The Velvet Underground. He continued to work in wood, began his “invisible drawings,” and composed music. With the support of collector Robert C. Scull, De Maria started making pieces in metal in 1965. In 1966, he was given a solo show at Cordier & Ekstrom, New York, and participated in Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in New York.

De Maria emerged as a leader of the Earthworks movement in 1968 when he filled the Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich with dirt. This year, he also made his Mile Long Drawing in the Mojave Desert, meant to serve as an early manifestation for his project Mile Long Parallel Walls in the Desert, originally conceived in 1962 to consist of two parallel mile-long walls. In 1968, he also participated in Documenta in Kassel. A major exhibition of De Maria’s sculpture was held at the Kunstmuseum Basel in 1972. Earthworks and serial geometric sculpture continued to occupy De Maria in the 1970s: his Three Continent Project was completed in 1972 and the Lightning Field in New Mexico was finished in 1977. That same year, De Maria again participated in Documenta, this time installing his permanent public sculpture Vertical Earth Kilometer in Friedrichsplatz Park in Kassel. Also in 1977, the artist recreated his Earth Room at the Heiner Friedrich Gallery in New York, which was then permanently reinstalled in 1980.

In 1979, De Maria meticulously arranged five hundred brass rods for The Broken Kilometer, a permanent installation at 393 West Broadway in New York. Similar experiments with geometry and mathematical formulae in metal floor pieces include The Equal Area Series (1976–1990), 360° I-Ching/64 Sculptures (1981), A Computer Which Will Solve Every Problem in the World/3-12 Polygon (1984), and 13, 14, & 15 Meter Rows (1985). For The 2000 Sculpture (1992), exhibited at Kunsthaus Zürich in 1992 and again in 1999, De Maria incorporated polygonal shapes made of solid gesso, rather than his characteristic brass or steel, into his expansive, perfectly ordered installations.

While De Maria is perhaps best known for his Earthworks and installations in the seventies, he has also since been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions organized by Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1981), Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1984), Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (1987), Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1988), Gemäldgalerie in Berlin (1998), Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima (2000 and 2004), and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City (2007), among others. The artist lives and works in New York.

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