Walter De Maria, the conceptual artist and sculptor who designed a major outdoor installation for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has died at 77. The cause of death was announced as a stroke. A native of Albany, Calif., he had lived for years in New York.
In 2002, De Maria’s “One Sun/34 Moons” was dedicated on the north side of the Nelson-Atkins to accompany the opening of the museum’s new parking garage, the first major piece of the Bloch Building expansion then under way. The work comprises a gold-leafed metal arc, representing a slice of the sun’s surface, in a shallow pool of water dotted with 34 oculi or round skylights that bring natural light into the parking garage below.
De Maria was probably best known for “The Lightning Field,” an array of 400 stainless steel poles arrayed in the New Mexico desert. De Maria installed that work in 1977.