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Larry Bell Exhibits at His Hometown Museum, the Harwood in Taos

Larry Bell is widely known as a Southern California “Light and Space” artist. Few people know, however, that Bell has lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico since 1973.

Larry Bell in his Taos studio with Light Knots
Larry Bell in his Taos studio with Light Knots (photo by Oliver Bell).

Larry Bell: Hocus, Focus and 12 at Harwood Museum of Art in Taos presents work created in the 45 years Bell has used this tri-cultural community as home base. On display are two of his standing-wall installations, Gus’s Berg (1975), and a 2017 work created as part of his Venice Fog series. The exhibit also surveys Bell’s works on paper — Vapor Drawings, Mirage Works, and Fractions — all created in his Taos studio. Twelve of Bell’s massive collection of 12-string guitars hang alongside compositions called Church Studies (because they were assembled in his Venice, California studio, a re-purposed church) whose forms take inspiration from the shapes of the guitars.

Bell uses exhibitions as extensions of his studio, “temporary spaces to learn from the work I’ve done.” In this exhibition, that extension is literally across the street from his studio.

The Harwood Museum of Art is site to a permanent installation of paintings by Agnes Martin (1912–2004) who called Taos home at several times in her long and prolific life and an installation of Death Shrine I, part of Happy’s Curios series by Kenneth Price (1935–2012) who was a lifelong friend of Bell and also from Los Angeles. The museum collects and exhibits art by Taos Society of Artists, active in Taos from 1915 to 1927, and traditional Hispanic religious art, as well as contemporary New Mexico art.

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Larry Bell: Hocus, Focus and 12 continues at The Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico (238 Ledoux Street, Taos, New Mexico) through October 7, 2018.