ArtExhibitionsLarry Bell: Improvisations
Exhibition

Larry Bell: Improvisations

05/22/2024 to 01/05/2025 Located in Third Floor Katz Wing

Larry Bell: Improvisations showcases glass sculptures and collage works by one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Light and Space movement.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Larry Bell: Improvisations celebrates the artistic achievements and lifelong career of renowned experimental artist Larry Bell, one of the most influential creators to emerge from the Los Angeles art scene in the 1960s, alongside Robert Irwin, Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, and others.

Larry Bell, Untitled (2 x 3), 2021. Laminated glass coated with Inconel, SIO and Quartz, 16 x 19 x 19 in. Larry Bell Studio, Courtesy of the artist and Anthony Meier, Mill Valley.Image credits: (above) Larry Bell, Untitled (2 x 3), 2021. Laminated glass coated with Inconel, SIO and Quartz, 16 x 19 x 19 in. Larry Bell Studio, Courtesy of the artist and Anthony Meier, Mill Valley. (Header) Larry Bell, Triolith (Poppy/Hibiscus) A, 2020. Laminated glass coated with Iconel, 12 x 24 x 12 in. Larry Bell Studio, Courtesy of the artist and Anthony Meier, Mill Valley.

Born in Chicago in 1939, Bell is an experimental artist who has long explored interactions between light and surface through glass sculpture, monochrome painting, collage, and furniture design. Early in his career, he discovered a vacuum deposition technique that allowed him to transfer thin film deposits onto glass panes, resulting in his early pristine cubes that had dazzling visual effects. From there, Bell used light as a medium to home in on how different surfaces reflect, absorb, and transmit light. He later used a vacuum tank and a mounting press to experiment with heat and vapor-coated paper, resulting in mixed-media collage works. His process is characterized by intuition, spontaneity, and improvisation. Although his technique has evolved over time, the result of his larger-scale works is the perceived dissolution of the surface altogether, which allows for each artwork to become an extension of its environment.

The survey explores the progression of Bell’s process from the 1960s through the present day, featuring a wide range of glass cubes, sculptures, large-scale standing walls, and mixed-media collages the artist created using the cutting-edge vacuum deposition technique. The exhibition debuts a selection of Light Knot sculptures that suspend from the ceiling and appear to dance as they absorb and reflect the surrounding light. It also premieres one newly commissioned large-scale work—a cubic form representing the mercurial sun, surrounded by clouded glass evocative of the fog of Venice Beach, California. Improvisations additionally features rarely exhibited collage works from the Phoenix Art Museum Collection, including examples from Bell’s Vapor Drawings (1978-present), Mirage series (1980s-present), and Fraction series (1996-2001).

Larry Bell, Kyiv-- formally Iwo Jima-BMP #29, 1990. Mixed media/3 panels black canvas, 87 x 122 in. Larry Bell Studio, Photo by Desiree Manville.Larry Bell, Kyiv– formally Iwo Jima-BMP #29, 1990. Mixed media/3 panels black canvas, 87 x 122 in. Larry Bell Studio, Photo by Desiree Manville.

EXHIBITION SPONSORS

Larry Bell: Improvisations is organized by Phoenix Art Museum and curated by Rachel Sadvary Zebro, associate curator of collections at Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of Lee and Mike Cohn.

All exhibitions at Phoenix Art Museum are underwritten by the Phoenix Art Museum Exhibition Excellence Fund, founded by The Opatrny Family Foundation with additional major support provided by Joan Cremin.

 

 

RELATED EVENTS AND PROGRAMS

RESOURCES

PRESS INFORMATION

Media Images and Credit Lines

DOWNLOAD

Press Release

COMING SOON
EXHIBITIONS

On view for a limited time, exhibitions present art from across the centuries and the globe, from iconic fashion to Old Master paintings, contemporary photography to historical objects of Asia.

MORE
COLLECTIONS

Featuring more than 20,000 objects, the collection spans the globe, bringing the world to our city, and our city to the world.

MORE
ARIZONA ARTIST AWARDS

Since 1986, Phoenix Art Museum has awarded more than $350,000 to over 200 Arizona-based artists through two annual artist awards opportunities.

MORE

What can we help you find?

Need further assistance?
Please call Visitor Services at 602.257.1880 or email

info@phxart.org
TYPE HERE TO SEARCH...