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Publishers WeeklyIn this fascinating, ultimately frustrating meditation on how humans visualize their environment, poet and author Fox (Terra Antarctica) considers the sweep of human history, art and technology. Largely concerned with how modern artists, particularly photographers, use the aerial perspective, Fox first flies with photographers Michael Heizer and David Hansen over the deserts, open-pit mines and military installations of the American West, describing their post-modern experiments with perspective, light, color and angle. He also joins Heizer and geographer Denis Cosgrove for aerial tours of the Los Angeles basin, comparing past and present aerial views of planned suburbs from the 1950s. Back East, he joins Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art director Joe Thompson for a trip over post-9/11 New York, and a discussion of the artists who had studios in the World Trade Center towers. Fox's last destination is Australia, to examine and contemplate the paintings of Aborigines, which are almost always aerial landscapes. Though dense with ideas and the philosophy of human geography, this panoramic study is repeatedly undermined by inadequate illustrations, including a paucity of reproduced art works (of the dozens Fox discusses, just 16 are included) and, most aggravating, a complete lack of route maps. 16 color plates.
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