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Ethereal & Otherworldly: Transported by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

The mesmerizing Agnes Martin survey, organized by the Tate Modern and now gracing the Guggenheim Museum’s rotunda (to Jan. 11), enraptured me from the start: In the pocket gallery just off the first ramp is a perfectly lit, glowing array of “The Islands,” 1979, a series of 12 panels owned by the Whitney Museum that can make you feel mesmerized and even a little woozy, if you stare long enough to allow them to overcome you.

The problem with these rhapsodies in modulated whites, lightly delineated with pencil, is that they defy photographic reproduction. You gotta be there.

Here, for what it’s (not) worth, is one of them:

Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

I came away with the same feeling that I had after experiencing the Museum of Modern Art’s riveting display of Jacob Lawrence‘s “Migration Series”: These powerful tours de force demand to be seen in full at all times (conservation exigencies permitting), whether at their home institutions or on loan. Anything less is a dereliction of curatorial duty.

For now, though, join me as I tweet my way through what, to me, was not so much an exhibition as an enchantment:

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