Her new body of work will be shown at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC later this month.
All of my work is a search and an experiment,” Pat Steir once said. Born in 1940 and exhibiting since the 1960s, the artist has been honing her open-form approach for six decades. As part of the downtown New York art scene of the 1970s, Steir fell in with conceptual artists like Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner while working on her own monochromes and room-scale installations. She was involved with feminist organizing during that time, co-founding the influential journal and collective Heresies. Steir has also taught extensively and counts David Salle and Amy Sillman among her students from her time as a professor at California Institute of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts, respectively.
Steir received another round of acclaim for her Waterfall paintings, which she began in the 1980s and which are influenced by Chinese painting techniques and Buddhist and Taoist philosophies. A Waterfall from 1992 recently sold for $2.2 million at auction, rare for a secondary market that at its upper reaches favors male artists. Steir has been said to remove herself from the painting process, ceding control to gravity’s pull on the paint—a process reminiscent of her late friend John Cage’s idea of allowing chance to play a role in artmaking.