Curator‘s Comments

A member of an avant-garde circle of artists and intellectuals in post-war Germany, Bauermeister came to the United States in 1962 and spent a decade working in New York. With her husband, Karlheinz Stockhausen, a composer of electronic music, she became associated with musician and composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham, video artist Nam June Paik and others who were experimenting with seriality and chance in their work.

Eighteen Rows, a “painting” of pebbles in graduated sizes, reflects the influence of musical and mathematical theories Bauermeister applied to the visual arts by assigning a “scale” of five degrees to light, intensity, volume, time, and material. The pebbles in Eighteen Rows were collected in Sicily, but this piece was not completed until 1968, when the artist returned to Sicily to gather more material.

"I am not beautifying or celebrating matter even if I work with stones. Of course I let them express themselves as material, but it is always a principle of order which they follow, a principle of geometry or cosmic order along which, for example, the growth of plants or minerals happens. These are thought-forms in matter."

--Mary Bauermeister

18 Rows

Mary Bauermeister. German, Born 1934

18 Rows, 1962-1968

Pebbles and epoxy on linen-covered board

Gift of Dorothy C. Miller (Mrs. Holger Cahill), class of 1925

ID Number: SC 1972:1