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Born in Bronxville, New York, Brice Marden became a Minimalist painter of monochromatic appearing, non-objective canvases.
He did undergraduate study at Boston University, earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University and then moved to New York City in 1963 where, within a decade, he had achieved international recognition. Before he was able to support himself financially with his artwork, he worked as a guard at the Jewish Museum and in 1966 as a studio assistant to Robert Rauschenberg.
In 2001, he established a studio and townhouse home in Greenwich Village. Although he considers New York City his base, he also has established studios from which he regularly works in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania in 1991 and Tivoli, New York in 2002, and the Greek island of Hydra from 1971.
His first solo exhibition was in 1966 at Klaus Kertess’s Bykert Gallery in New York, and from then he has had numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe including the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in 1975 and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1982.
In 2007 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is hosting a major retrospective of his work, which is only about 100 paintings, and which is his first retrospective since the 1975 Guggenheim exhibit. The 2007 show “charts his evolution as a painter, beginning with his monochromes from the early 1960s” linked to Minimalism. However, in the 1980s, a major change occurred in his painting “when he replaced his minimalist approach with a gestural style in which ribbons of color float and wheel between and on top of one another against a contrasting background.” (Ayers, 60) He also began inserting calligraphy into his work.
In the early 21st century, Brice Marden is described as being of particular interest because he is one of the few living highly respected artists whose primary style is linked to Abstract Expressionism. Of his working method, he says that he alternates “periods of long consideration with bursts of frenetic activity” (Ayers, 60) and that the activity stage has him doing a lot of drawing that is not always related to painting. He is committed to freeing himself psychologically so that painterly spontaneity can guide his creativity.
Robert Ayers, “Brice Marden”, Art & Auction, December 2006, pp. 59-60.
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Biography from the Archives of AskART.