Larry Bell



Not on display

Larry Bell born 1939
Metal and glass
Object: 362 × 362 × 362 mm
Purchased 1972

Display caption

Based in Los Angeles, Bell?s work reflects a preoccupation by some West Coast artists with light and space. The three boxes shown here demonstrate his various technical approaches to achieving their distinctive surfaces. The chequer-board pattern of Untitled (1962) was made by scraping away squares from a mirror, which he then painted black. The smoked effect on the four mirrored squares in the centre was achieved by applying a thin coating to the glass in a vacuum environment. The oval patterns of Untitled (1964) were made by covering the glass with a chemical treatment that cuts off certain bands of light, so that they appear in different colours depending on the viewing angle. Bell later abandoned patterned cubes in favour of plain glass ones, achieving a suffused effect by coating their surfaces with a thin film of quartz and chromium, as in Untitled (1967)

Gallery label, May 2003

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Catalogue entry

Larry Bell born 1939

T01697 Untitled 1967

Not inscribed
Chrome-plated metal and glass, 14 1/4 x 14 1/4 x 14 1/4 (36 x 36 x 36)
Purchased from the artist through the Felicity Samuel Gallery, London (Grant-in-Aid) 1972
Lit: Fidel A. Danieli, 'Bell's Progress' in Artforum, V, Summer 1967, pp.68-71

In 1965 Larry Bell abruptly abandoned making patterned and highly coloured cubes such as T01696 and turned instead to making larger glass cubes of a very pure, ethereal kind, with planes of clear glass faintly and hazily suffused with a metallic scrim. The thin metallic film was produced by vacuum deposition; the metals used in this case were quartz and chromium, and the effect is more smoky towards the corners. After obtaining his own vacuum-coating machine in 1966, he was able to make boxes of this type up to a maximum of 40in (101.5cm) cubes.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.42, reproduced p.42


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