Land art

Land art
Isabel del Rio

Land art: ‘Environmental conversation’ could be a motto for their intentions. A conversation that will continue forever recovering our natural roots.

In the 60, artists started to look for new ways of expression. They were tired of the marketing of paintings and sculptures. In the deserts of the United States were made the first works: Nevada, New Mexico, Utah or Arizona, but some of them only exist today as video recordings or photographic documents, since the erosion has destroyed them due to their ephemeral intention.

Land art. South Cove by Mary Miss

Land art. South Cove by Mary Miss

The Land artist looks for a dialogue with Nature. He/she rediscovers the countryside and introduces some new element. Sometimes, it’s a little change, some others it’s a big change, using excavators and transporting great amount of materials.

Usually, the artists connected with Land art have been involved with minimal art and conceptual art. The design for Contoured Playground in New York by Isamu Noguchi (1941) has been interpreted as an important early piece, the same as some works by Brancusi. But the movement began in 1968 in New York, with the group exhibition ‘Earth Works’ at the Dwan Gallery. The artists included were Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, Michael Heizer, Neil Jenney, Richard Long, Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Gunther Uecker, Walter de Maria, and David Medalla. Perhaps the most famous is Robert Smithson, creator of ‘Spiral Jetty’ and author of the essay ‘The Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects’, which provided a theoretical framework for the movement. My favorite is Christo and his wrapping monuments.

‘Environmental conversation’ could be a motto for their intentions. A conversation that will continue forever recovering our natural roots, our primitive feelings, more environmentally friendly than those of our post-industrial society, tired and isolated.

Land art. Reichstag wrapping, by Christo

Land art. Reichstag wrapping, by Christo

Some important later works:

-Double Negative by Michael Heizer (1970)

-Cadillac Ranch by The Ant Farm (1974)

-Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt (1976)

-The Stone Field Sculpture by Carl Andre (1977)

-Lightning Field by Walter de Maria (1977)

-Comb of the Winds by Eduardo Chillida (1977)

-Effigy Tumuli by Michael Heizer (1985)

-South Cove by Mary Miss (1988)

-Reichstag wrapping by Christo (1995)




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Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

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