Brice Marden Visits Hydra, Sources Marble

brice 1 Brice Marden Visits Hydra, Sources Marble

Brice Marden, 2009. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Even more fun than seeing Brice Marden’s new exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery, “Brice Marden: New Paintings,” was stumbling on this blog post at Opening Ceremony, which shows photos of the artist, taken by his daughter Mirabelle, on the Greek island of Hydra and shopping for marble elsewhere in Greece.

Mr. Marden was in Hydra last year completing the works on display at Matthew Marks, 15 oil paintings of Mondrian-like grids filled in various places with primary colors. This is Mr. Marden’s second series on marble, the first one having been completed in 1981-87, which marked his transition from his monochromatic early works to his squiggly calligraphic later works.

You might think the artist is frolicking around the island of Hydra—”the Mediterranean destination for the Basel/biennale crowd since 2009,” according to the OC blog—simply because his works sell for millions of dollars (Sotheby’s sold one of his works for over $9 million in 2010, an artist record), and he moves with that group. But Mr. Marden and his wife, Helen, have been traveling to Hydra since 1971, very early in Mr. Marden’s career, and well before collector Dakis Joannou made the island an art hotspot by organizing projects with Matthew Barney, Elizabeth Peyton and others. The couple has been back every year since.

Why not make works on marble when the quarry’s just a hop away from the studio on a hydroplane?