American artist Walter De Maria is associated with Minimal, conceptual, installation, and land art. He is best known for The Lightning Field, 1977, a long-term installation in western New Mexico made up of four hundred pointed stainless steel poles arranged in a grid over an area measuring one mile by one kilometer. Despite the role he has played in contemporary art over the past fifty years, few books have been dedicated to the artist. Featuring new paintings and sculptures and never before published texts, this volume explores in detail the works in the artist's first major museum exhibition in the United States: "Walter De Maria: Trilogies" at the Menil Collection.
In the expansive new work the Bel Air Trilogy, 2000–11, De Maria has combined exacting geometry with the entirely unexpected element of three impeccably restored 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air two-tone hardtops. Each car is pierced by a twelve-foot-long stainless steel rod in the shape of a circle, square, or triangle that runs through the front and rear windshields. The Bel Air Trilogy is joined by De Maria's austere tripartite sculpture with moveable spheres, the Channel Series, 1972, and The Statement Series, 1968/2011. Building upon his large-scale 1968 canvas The Color Men Choose When They Attack The Earth, for The Statement Series, the artist created two additional monochrome paintings with engraved stainless steel plates that complement the original piece. The works in this volume are a testament to De Maria's ongoing investigation of the conceptual, the dramatic, the monumental, the minimal, and the real. Together these three trilogies challenge and broaden our understanding of the artist's work.