D.T. Suzuki's lectures at Columbia
Suzuki's lectures drew overflowing crowds and reached many more through hearsay. Although Martin wasn't in New York in time for Suzuki's lectures, his teachings were certainly in the air and came to be reflected in her thinking.
—Nancy Princenthal on the book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
Martin's exaltation of "egoless" abstraction, of detachment, humility, and surrender, is related to her interest in the writings of Chuang-tzu and Lao-tzu, Chinese philosophers of the Tao. In the nineteen-fifties, Taoism, or the Silent Way of Recompense, and Zen, Taoism's Japanese adaptation, gained adherents among artists and intellectuals, through the translations, writings, and lectures of T.Z. Suzuki and Alan Watts. Artists as diverse as John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, and Ad Reinhardt (who also became Martin's friend) were all proponents of Zen.
—Benita Eisler, on her 1993 New Yorker profile of Agnes Martin