Friday, August 08, 2008

De Maria

The point I'm making here is that the most beautiful thing is to experience a work of art over a period of time. — Walter De Maria

This1972 interview with sculptor De Maria — whose Lightning Field is perhaps the most impressive single work of art I know — is further evidence of the origins of the practices that came to be known as minimalism in the west coast radical arts scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s. There are some unfortunate errors in the transcript (of names, especially: La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Loren Rush), but it's nevertheless a valuable document.

WDM: But Lamont's (sic) static music and Whitman's touch, it was really fine. Lamont is only now coming out with records, only now coming out with the second record. Lamont has influenced Terry Riley who has made beautiful records. Terry Riley influenced Steve Reich who has made these records for Columbia and Phil Glass evidently discovered a similar type of music independently. So now they have what they call a Hynoptic School of music. Very static, long long tones without great variations from measure to measure, more like a solid state or a solid feeling. Rather than having great variations in pitch and variations of melody, you carry on solid . . . .

PC: Drone.

WDM: Yeah, almost like the drone is the basis of it. Lamont developed that and I played a certain part in it, making certain tapes like in '64, and Terry Riley developed it in his way using the tape delay, where you play a certain thing and then three seconds later it plays again and then it echoes again and the beautiful N C and Rainbow occurred on Columbia Records. I was very close to Terry and I nearly formed a band with Terry and John Cale. We were playing right in the other part of the studio, had all of the material set up. We were trying, but Terry had his idea, John Cale has his, I had mine. To make a band you have to work out your common feelings and ideas, and it's just too much.

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