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Land Art is, historically, HUGE. Ginormous. It is art that is heaved and coughed and carved into the hardest and bitterest corners of the suffering planet, art that says “humans were here.” Artist Chris Drury knows — he came of age in a generation of land art giants: Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, guys who made their art with dump trucks and backhoes. A few years ago Drury found himself working in the middle of a desert — not because he had an itchy bulldozer butt — because the Center for Art and the Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art exhibited a collection of his works: Mushrooms|Clouds. What’s important about this exhibit? Drury doesn’t make “Land Art”. He makes something of a more collaborative spirit.
Now, to be fair, Drury does make big art. His Winnemucca Whirlwind was 300 feet across. But unlike, say, Double Negative, which Heizer made by digging trenches with a backhoe, the Whirlwind disappeared into the dusty desert air, leaving nothing behind but a google image search. The Whirlwind was also inspired by a local tribal pattern, and raked into a dry lakebed on federal land. And while a pretty carved symbol does not make for legal land reparations, the acknowledgment, at least, was there. Drury is aware of both the modern industrial and the ecological context of his art.
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