Land Arts of the American West

Overview

Land art encompasses the full spectrum of human responses to a specific landscape over time. From the perspective of architect Chris Taylor and artist Bill Gilbert, land art ranges from the inscription of pictographs and petrogylphs to the construction of roads, dwellings, and monuments, as well as traces of those actions. It includes gestures both small and grand, directing our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and mark in the sand to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military/industrial ...

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Overview

Land art encompasses the full spectrum of human responses to a specific landscape over time. From the perspective of architect Chris Taylor and artist Bill Gilbert, land art ranges from the inscription of pictographs and petrogylphs to the construction of roads, dwellings, and monuments, as well as traces of those actions. It includes gestures both small and grand, directing our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and mark in the sand to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military/industrial projects such as hydroelectric dams and decommissioned airfields.

In Land Arts of the American West, Taylor and Gilbert present the results of a remarkable ongoing collaboration in which they investigate and create land art with students from the University of Texas and the University of New Mexico. The land arts program was started by Bill Gilbert in 2000 and has developed as a collaboration between Gilbert and Taylor since 2002. The description of the program in this book is organized around places that the authors and their students visit during a two-month journey each fall, ranging from Native American sites such as Chaco Canyon, to man-made industrial structures such as Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, to monumental earthworks such as Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake.

Each place in Land Arts comes alive through color photographs accompanied by descriptive information about the site's natural and human history; students' journal entries that present first-person experiences of the place; and essays by experts in archaeology, art history, architecture, writing, activism, studio art, and design who join the group as they travel. Woven throughout the text is a conversation among Taylor, Gilbert, and writer William L. Fox, who draws the authors out about the land art program's origins, pedagogic mission, field operations, interactions with guest lecturers, and future directions.

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What People Are Saying

John Beardsley
Land Arts of the American West is notable for presenting an unusually wide array of artistic exploration and intervention in the Western landscape, and for having a remarkably large frame of historical reference. . . . Given the range of sites presented and the depth of analysis that many of them receive, I can imagine that this book would have broad appeal not only to people interested in art, but also to those intrigued by landscape, land use, and Western history.
John Beardsley, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, author of Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape
John Beardsley
Land Arts of the American West is notable for presenting an unusually wide array of artistic exploration and intervention in the Western landscape, and for having a remarkably large frame of historical reference. . . . Given the range of sites presented and the depth of analysis that many of them receive, I can imagine that this book would have broad appeal not only to people interested in art, but also to those intrigued by landscape, land use, and Western history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292716728
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. Practicing Land Arts: Learning to Learn
3. Muley Point
4. Double Negative
5. Great Basin Geomorphology
6. Land Mark Making by WilliamL. Fox
7. Lake Mead
8. Practicing Land Arts: Field Trials
9. Bosque del Apache
10. El Vado Lake
11. A Native American Sense of Place: Tending the Roots of Culture; An Interview with Mary Lewis Garcia
12. Spiral Jetty
13. The Problem of Return by Ann Reynolds
14. Practicing Land Arts: On Site, Part One
14.1. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness
15. Chaco Canyon
16. Chaco Canyon and the Interactions of Nature, Culture, Art, and History by J.J. Brody
17. Roden Crater
18. Wupatki
19. CLUI-Wendover
20. Out There with the Center for Land Use Interpretation: An Interview with Matthew Coolidge
21. Very Large Array
22. Deming
23. Practicing Land Arts: On Site, Part Two
24. Colorado Plateau Geomorphology
25. Tipover Canyon
26. The Lightning Field
27. Turkey Springs
28. Chihuahuan Desert Geomorphology
29. Marfa
30. Boquillas Canyon
31. Juan Mata Ortiz
32a. Ollas, vacas, y ferocarriles: Una conversación en el vado; Una entrevista con Héctor Gallegos y Graciela Martínez de Gallegos
32b. Pots, Cows, and Trains: A Conversation at the Crossing; An Interview with Héctor Gallegos and Graciela Martínez de Gallegos
33. Cebolla Canyon
34. Practicing Land Arts: Parallel Practices
35. Anaya Spring
36. Peripheral Vision by Lucy R. Lippard
37. Apache Creek
38. San Rafael Swell
39. Sun Tunnels
40. Otero Mesa
41. Blue Notch
42. Practicing Land Arts: Future Directions

All insets by Amanda Douberley

Land Arts of the American West: Program History
Land Arts of the American West: Bibliography
Photo Credits
Index

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