Larry Bell

Light and space

Larry Bell (he/him) was born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. He is based in Taos, New Mexico where he currently works. He also has a studio on Venice Beach, California.

Practice

Larry Bell is a hugely influential artist generally associated with the Minimalist movement. He’s famous for his work with glass, the material he loves best. It’s relatively cheap, and it has three key characteristics – it reflects, absorbs and transmits light at the same time.

Music

In 1976 Larry Bell appeared on the cover of the iconic Beatles Album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As it happens, music has always been a big part of his life. Born with severe hearing loss, he first listened to guitars through their vibrations.

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Collaborations with Larry Bell

Avant Arte and Larry Bell have one upcoming collaboration.

Practice overview

For over six decades, Larry Bell has been fascinated with light. He works across many mediums – including furniture, installation and drawing. But above all, Bell is most celebrated for his iconic glass-cube sculptures. They have become a go-to for light art. He has influenced fellow sculptors like minimalist Donald Judd to light and space artist Peter Alexander from the 1960s. Bell’s unique process is at the heart of this. In particular, he works with an industrial technique called Thermal Evaporation. This places metallic film onto the glass, creating the illusionistic effect Bell is known for.

This new sensory dimension has created new ground for how we encounter art. He famously refers to glass as “standing walls” which create fleeting and sensory experiences. The structure is essential to providing a framework to observe – asking the viewer to reflect their body in space. Even with 2D drawings, he creates the illusion of three dimensions. The drawings are called vapor drawings. They are created by thermally evaporating metal in a vacuum plating process onto various surfaces such as mylar, paper and Tyvek. Most images that are not pure vapor drawing are collages. Often, they are based on his own body proportions and restraints. New perceptions of light and space reorientate us, forever.

“The space declared by these new sculptures becomes the work.”Larry Bell