If you’re interested in art that uses nature as its medium, there’s no better place to get your fill than Land/Art New Mexico. The event may be over but the gathering was commemorated with this vibrant book by the same name. Written by Lucy Lippard, William Fox, and Nancy Mithlo, it’s a collection of giant photographs and in-depth essays documenting and analyzing the state of land art. Read on to discover all you’ve missed . . .
Dusty sculpture. Windblown performance. Seeds sent down rivers in book-shaped blocks of ice. Included within the six-month Land/Art program were a two-day symposium, a three-month exhibition on Experimental Geography, and a series of performances and speakers. The layout of the book manages to ground this cluster of activity in giant white pages. The text of its essays is large enough to read, but small enough to feel lost on the page. And all words seem dwarfed by the giant, spooky photographs.
The photographs depict costumes of leaves, sculptures of tumbleweeds, gardens in cars. They feature plastic bag flowers, numbered mountains, vinyl poems, and a woman boiling milk in a hot spring. They’re an exciting collecting of the work artists are doing to engage with the modern landscape.
But all this work comes on the heels of Land Artists and Feminist Artists who have come before. The folks who first dragged art out of the gallery and into the barren and beautiful American West. Which is why the book includes essays and musings on the practice. Lucy Lippard discusses her New Mexico landscape (and whether art could actually improve it). William Fox gives an in-depth overview of artists’ relationship to land. And there are a few other meaty literary contributions.
Land/Art’s website also includes a virtual exhibition for folks looking for a walk-through of the entire experience. But for those of us who prefer to savor images and thoughts, the book is a meal in and of itself. Which is usually what you take home from a good party, anyway.