This letter is on display at Pace in the Agnes Martin Grey Paintings show.
the text reads:
I have only one worry in the world! It is that my paintings will show downtown and fail there. They will fail because they are non-aggressive – they are not even outgoing – in a competitive environment, with big displays of aggressive artwork.
With the dark paintings it was not bad because they do have some “force.” I did not get one compliment on that show, however!
The competitive environment is made by the huge audience of mostly young (ambitious) painters that are “making” the “scene!”
The “art scene” is really a lot of words put out by journalists. With its changing trends it bears very little relation to ART defined as part of the structure of social human life. I particularly do not want to be on the art scene. If you come on with the scene you go off with the scene. I want to stay away from it. It is downtown with these young artists. They are not like the students who do not yet think of “the market.” They are really wild.
I am deeply concerned about this. What I want is so far from the downtown scene, just a little room, just a few paintings contemplated quietly. Unaggressive paintings* unaggressive showings – just the opposite. It worked well in the past. Hoping you agree with me.
AgnesPS: * for unaggressive collectors