Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Land Arts of the American West

I vaguely remember learning about the Land Arts of the American West when I first visited Spiral Jetty in 2005. From their About page:

"Land Arts of the American West is an ongoing experiment in an interdisciplinary model for an Arts pedagogy based in place. The Land Arts program provides students with direct, physical engagement with a full range of human interventions in the landscape, from pre contact Native America architecture, pictographs and petrogylphs to contemporary Earthworks, federal infrastructure, and the constructions of the US Military. Land art includes gestures both grand and small, directing our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and track in the sand to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military/industrial projects such as hydroelectric dams and decommissioned airfields."

They just published a book through University of Texas Press which I promptly put on Interlibrary Loan.

Some relevant projects from their website which draw a correlation between what Nancy and I did at each earthwork follow:

While our work is more ephemeral in nature, these artists created earthworks in response to some of the same sites we saw. The most often asked question when discussing our project is "When are you going to make your own earthwork?" Aside from this diorama Hannah and I are constructing, I have not had an interest in moving earth around as I am still more interested in borrowing from the pre-existing artwork and creating something from it. We'll see... but in the meantime, it was fascinating to find these works as another example of a contemporary art form inspired by Land Art.

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