Original photographer:
Arnold Newman
Arnold Newman

Bill Ganzel

Larry Bell on his art

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video clip of
Larry Bell, click here


Larry Bell – "Gallery '68: High and Low Art"

Larry Bell with one of his signature glass and chrome structures with subtle color coatings. Photo by Arnold Newman, from the January 9, 1968, edition of LOOK.

Larry Bell in 1968

Larry Bell in his Venice Beach, CA, gallery with some of his newest work on the wall behind him. Photo by Bill Ganzel, December 2012.

In January, 1968, LOOK published a special edition on "The Sound and Fury in the Arts." The first article featured seven leading artists – who happened to be all male. (In 1960, LOOK had featured women artists like Lee Bontecou, Helen Frankenthaler and Grace Hartigan. Bontecou is the only one still living.) Larry Bell was chosen because of his interest in "the potential of new materials."

Philip Leider, the editor of Artforum, wrote that Bell was "initially dealing with the complexities of mirrored surfaces, he later substituted color for mirroring and then began to pare down the amount of visual 'incident' on his surfaces. Reaching a point where it became increasingly difficult to convey even to professional glassworkers the exact quality of the surfaces he desired, Bell started on an exhaustive study of the craft of glass-coating." He bought an industrial vacuum coating chamber and began producing his own tinted glass panels that were assembled into his signature cubes.

The coating chamber is still installed and operating in Taos, but he admits that working with glass is physically challenging. Today, Bell is experimenting with other materials like mylar, paper and other substrates. He says, "I trust the work to lead me where I need to go."

The original photograph was taken by Arnold Newman who repeatedly asked Bell to pose with his face behind one of the cubes. Bell refused and says the gesture of his hand holding the cigar was intentional.

Larry Bell in Taos NM