Minimalist art and Homage to the Square: Glow
September 5, 2006 9:22 PM   Subscribe

I first saw it on a postage stamp. Now I really (pathologically) like Josef Alber's Homage to the Square: Glow. Looking for suggestions work that expresses similar emotions (with caveats inside). Also, I would love to get a print of it and/or see it some time before I die. It doen't seem to have been exhibited for 14 years. I understand nothing about art museums or prints. Please help.

Does anyone know where I can get a print? Also, it appears from the exhibition history that it's not on display at the Hirshhorn. Even if it isn't on exhibit, could I somehow arrange to see it if I contact/show up at the Hirshhorn? It seems as if it's been condemned to a dark corner for the last 14 years -- where it can't glow for me or other people!

I'm also looking for similar work. But this is, so far, the only minimalist-type work that does anything for me. I don't really get anything from the rest of Alber's work, just this one. Is there other, specific minimalist work that you think conveys this kind of emotion/wonder?

And I know this is probably a "If you have to ask" question, but what would something like this painting cost?

I had mostly given up on paintings, but this one really awakened something in me. Many thanks for any help you can be in expanding whatever happened.
posted by ontic to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mark Rothko, man. If you ever get down to Houston, go check out the Rothko Chapel (also the name of one of my favorite pieces of music, by Morton Feldman).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:28 PM on September 5, 2006

About the pieces moving you - I know from experience that many abstract paintings rely heavily on the materials- the texture of the paint, the light reflecting off it. This information will never come through in a print. I know many times I wondered what people were getting from a specific image, and then I saw it in person, and it became clear.

Doubtless, if you can get a chance to see some Rothko or other Albers works in person, they will have a much greater effect on you. You will likely discover dozens of paintings and painters this way.

Get thee to any nearby art museum(s), and see the work in person. A good way to see lots of similar stuff is to search the web for traveling exhibitions- which often feature works from private collections. These works have often been hidden from the public view for decades. They often come to smaller museums that don't have the ability to keep really valuable paintings in their permanent collections.
posted by fake at 9:34 PM on September 5, 2006

I would see if you can talk to a curator. They should know what's up with the painting -- it's their job / passion. They have a contact e-mail address on their website (, and a phone# for the Museum offices: 202-633-4674.
posted by smackfu at 9:34 PM on September 5, 2006

You might be interested in his book "The Interaction of Color", probably albers most well-known book. You'll find many examples such as the one you provided as well as interesting and accessible insights into his philosophies of color and art. The man knew his stuff. In the original edition, the color was mixed by hand and screenprinted in the book (according to my color-theory professor, who's professors at yale worked under albers)

sorry it doesn't answer your question of where to get a hold of one of his prints. But I'm sure if you ask anybody with a BFA they could give you their shoddy knock-offs of albers-color theory excercises made out of coloraid paper, I know I could :)
posted by Sreiny at 9:35 PM on September 5, 2006

DeMuth. Rothko. Mondrian. Klee. Hoffmann.
posted by luriete at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2006

Response by poster: I've seen lots of Albers and Rothko (and Jasper Johns) in person, but none of them seem to do for me what this painting does. But even though I've looked through most of Albers, maybe there's some specific Rothko out there that you all could recommend? Something almost edifying?
posted by ontic at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2006

Response by poster: To (better) clarify. I know the artists that in general do minimalist stuff. I'm not after whole oeuvres, but specifics out of those oeuvres on a theme like Glow. (The emotions of wonder, insight, enlightenment, edification, etc.)
posted by ontic at 9:46 PM on September 5, 2006

You might glance over the Frank Okada catalog. I've thoroughly enjoyed many of his works.
posted by ptm at 4:16 AM on September 6, 2006

Wolfgang Laib could be just the man for you. Does lots of beautiful minimalist works with color fields in interesting gorgeous glowing squares made from bee pollen. Google him!
posted by extrabox at 4:29 AM on September 6, 2006

Oh man, Laib's pollen pieces are very affecting, esp. in person.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2006

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