September 07 1934 - present
Photograph of Mary Bauermeister, ca. 1960, unknown photographer, courtesy of Thomas Paul Fine Art, Woodland, CA, USA
Place of Birth:
Drawings and prints, Painting, Sculpture, Installation Art
Assemblage Artist, Draftsperson, Installation Artist, Landscape Architect, Mixed Media Artist
, Painter, Sculptor, Woodworker
Throughout her artistic career, German-born installation artist Mary Bauermeister has focused her work on the design and organization of spatial constructs. Her collection of work spans over forty years of creation and ranges from early lens boxes constructed from sand, stones, plastic, fabric, and glass, to her more recent garden spaces using crystal and water. In all of her work, however, Bauermeister upholds a strict attention to the rhythmic ordering of space, a trend influenced by her lifelong interest in music.
Born in Germany in 1934, Bauermeister attended the Staatliche Schule für Kunst und Handwerk in Saarbrücken in the 1950s, and later moved to Cologne, a quickly developing center for the arts. Once in Cologne, Bauermeister wielded a significant presence in the city’s cultural and intellectual scene, hosting avant-garde musical performances in her studio known as both Atelier Mary Bauermeister and Atelier Lintgasse 28 (named for its address). Between 1960 and 1962 a number of artists and composers associated with Fluxus and new music styles, including John Cage, Christian Wolff, David Tudor, and Nam June Paik, performed in her well-known studio.
In the summer of 1961, Bauermeister began her own musical studies. With the help of pioneering electronic musician Karlheinz Stockhausen, whom she later married, Bauermeister theorized a set of organizing principles in her book Score for Painters, 1961, in which she applied musical compositional techniques to visual art. The application of this system is clear in Bauermeister’s work which is driven by experimentation, yet balanced by repetitive themes. Many of her pieces center around a core set of ideas: the effect of light upon surfaces, sequential patterns, reduction and growth, the incorporation of “non-art” materials, and spontaneous creative action.
Bauermeister moved to New York in 1962, but after a decade of living and working in the United States, she returned to Germany. Working in Cologne, Bauermeister now incorporates the natural order she recognizes in the Earth into her garden designs and urban commissions.
Staatliche Saarländische Schule für Kunst und Handwerk, Saarbrücken, Germany (1956-1957)
Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt, Germany (1961)
friend of Nam June Paik
influenced by Marcel Duchamp
influenced by Jean Tinguely
influenced by Arman