Posts tagged with "Land Art":

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Eight new installations at Socrates Sculpture Park interrogate a rapidly changing Queens

To honor its 30th birthday, Socrates Sculpture Park, the former dump-turned-art park on the banks of the East River, is presenting LANDMARK, a summer series of land art installations by eight artists, including a new earthwork, Concave Room for Bees, by New York–based Meg Webster. The series is a reflection on the changing neighborhood surrounding Socrates; the works engage gentrified Long Island City's cultural shifts and interrogate its economic transition. Webster's 70-foot-wide earthwork, which incorporates 300 cubic yards of dirt, attracts the flora and fauna of New York with a sculptural display of various soil compositions, and native flowering vegetation that attract pollinators. Nature-starved visitors can walk through the Concave Room for Bees on loamy paths to get a closer look at ecology in action. Since the 1970s, Webster has created indoor and outdoor work that features elements like water, salt, or moss, all arranged into geometric forms. When this piece is dismantled, the earth will be distributed across the park to give the topsoil a jolt of nutrients. Other works include a new piece, Half Moon, by artist Abigail DeVille, that uses found materials to explore the site's former role as a ferry slip and landfill. DeVille's scraggly shipwreck is a meditation on decay, public neglect, and contemporary issues of migration in Long Island City. Jonathan Odom's Open Seating is a series of 50 open-source chairs crafted from CNC-cut plywood and held together by ratchet straps (Odom created the designs and has released them online for others to replicate, gratis). The chairs, painted in languid pastels by volunteers, give visitors an opportunity to socialize, relax, and enjoy giant installations framed by the Manhattan skyline. LANDMARK is on view through August 28.
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Obama’s new national monuments preserve landscape and protect Michael Heizer’s “City”

In an act that preserved more than a million acres from development, President Obama designated three new national monuments in California, Nevada, and Texas. While the monument in central Texas protects an archeological site where Columbian Mammoths fossils were unearthed, and Berryessa Snow Mountain, the California location, staves off potential suburban encroachment, it is the Nevada monument that holds the most excitement for those with an interest in Land Art. Located about 150 miles north of Las Vegas, the Basin and Range National Monument contains within its borders City by Michael Heizer, the sculptor behind Levitated Mass. The artist began working on the piece in the 1970s and in the decades since, he’s sculpted dirt, rocks, and concrete into a mile-long geometric structure reminiscent of an urban form. In January, AN reported that the pristine desert plain where the was under threat when Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s Garden Valley Withdrawal Act failed to pass. Now, the land and more than 800,000 square miles of adjacent federal property in Garden Valley will remain unspoiled and free from industrial activity. LACMA director Michael Govan is a vocal supporter of Heizer and City. In May he and Brian O’Donnell, executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, making a case to protect the Nevada landscape and the artwork. “Designating the Basin and Range National Monument achieves two remarkable outcomes—a world-class artwork would endure into the future as it was envisioned, surrounded by sublimely beautiful open country; and a majestic Western American landscape would remain unspoiled for future generations,” commented Govan in a statement from the museum. This past spring Govan and art critic Dave Hickey discussed the importance of artwork operating at the scale of landscape. The ambitious undertaking provoked comments from Hickey, which were captured in a Huffington Post report. “Artists are all the time trying to occupy ordinary spaces... But to do a city? That is really cool,” he said. “It means that you can walk along one area and take a right and see some absolutely strange thing that you have never seen before, and walk along there until you see something else you've never seen before.”
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Walking on Water: This fabric-encased modular dock in Italy looks like the Yellow Brick Road to Oz

The artist with a penchant for wrapping cliff faces, skyscrapers, and even islands in swathes of bright-colored cloth is inviting Italians to walk on water with an over-two-mile-long walkway in the Mediterranean Sea that will be enveloped in shimmering yellow fabric. Stretching across Lake Iseo in the Lombardy region, Italy, the makeshift, handrail-less bridge by Bulgarian-born wrap artist Christo will temporarily join the mainland to the lake islands. The fabric will then continue along pedestrian streets in two mainland towns, Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio. A modular dock system of approximately 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes will undulate with the flux of the waves, making the walk across “a very sexy experience,” according to Christo. Titled The Floating Piers, the buoyant installation is designed to be visible from the mountains above, where the more or less bird's-eye view elicits a whole new dimension of experience. Sketches show the walkway as looking tight-rope precarious—a sliver of a bridge lacking a guardrail, bobbing up and down on choppy waters. In actuality, the piers will be 52 feet wide and about 1.6 feet high, so chances of mishap are diminutive. The Floating Pier will be Christo’s first large-scale installation since his 2005 The Gates in New York’s Central Park, which he made in collaboration with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude. In the spring and summer of 2014, Christo and team scouted lakes in northern Italy as potential sites, but he and project director Germano Celant found Lake Iseo to be the most inspiring. Christo also previously eyed Argentina and Japan as potential locations, but local authorities refused him a permit. Christo is best known for wrapping a cliff face in Little Bay, Sydney, Australia in 1969 with one million square feet of erosion-control fabric. Like all projects preceding it, The Floating Pier will be funded entirely by the sale of Christo’s original works of art. The artist, who has already raised $11 million, shrugged off the importance of exacting cost projection with: “It’s like a child, you can’t set out a budget to see him grow.” [via NYTimes.]
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Is this enormous mile-long land-art project in the Nevada desert a national monument?

According to a report in Las Vegas Weekly, the  Conservation Lands Foundation is pushing to make a project by land artist Michael Heizer, of "Levitated Mass" fame, a national monument. The newly threatened City installation is a still-incomplete collection of giant abstract structures stretching for more than a mile into the Nevada Desert. The move came after the failure of Nevada Senator Harry Reid's Garden Valley Withdrawal Act, attempting to keep the land—and more than 800,000 square miles of adjacent federal property in Garden Valley—free from mining. Critics have complained that it's a convenient tool in the effort to keep the area free of industrial activity, but conservationists argue that the unspoiled area as a whole is worth saving. “These are two of the most scenic valleys in Nevada, two of the most undisturbed, least-roaded, and least populated portions of the state and therefore the country," Brian O’Donnell, executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, told Las Vegas Review Journal. Heizer, who has been working on the piece since the 1970s, plans to open it to the public once it's complete. Made of dirt, rocks, and concrete, City considered by some to be the largest piece of land art in the world. But since the artist hasn't allowed visitors, many assertions about the piece remain unclear.
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Obit> Stanley Marsh, 1938–2014

Amarillo, Texas philanthropist Stanley Marsh—a major figure on creating two of the most iconic art works in America—considered himself an "artist and a prankster." The patron of both Cadillac Ranch and Robert Smithson's Amarillo Ramp (1973), the third in a trilogy a trilogy of spirals that also included Spiral Jetty (1970) and Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971), Marsh was an heir to his family's oil-and-gas fortune. Chip Lord of avant-garde architecture and design group Ant Farm—the creator of Cadillac Ranch—has many fond memories of the prankster Texan:
Stanley was a correspondence artist and we met via the mail before we met in person. He had giant size stationary and envelopes, and of course large rubber stamps. When we met in person in 1973 he invited Ant Farm to make a proposal to do a project in Amarillo. It was called Cadillac Ranch from the get go as you can see from the blueprint proposal we sent him. In a letter he sent us dated March 8, 1974, Stanley wrote, "It's going to take me awhile to get used to the idea of Cadillac Ranch. I'll answer you by April Fool's day...If we put the Cadillac Ranch on Highway 66, near my airport, would the bodies of the Cadillacs lean towards the highway (south) or would they lean towards the prairie (north)? That's an important consideration." He was already thinking about publicity and wrote, "I like publicity. I want to see my name in lights in Times Square, but I do not want publicity in Amarillo, Texas. That is because I own a television station here and nearly any publicity concerning me would affect the station and post possibly would be distorted by some of the competitive media trying to harm me or the station...So I would want a media blackout as far as television, radio, and the newspapers in the Texas Panhandle are concerned. Of course, if they want to resurrect LIFE magazine for me, that would be fine."
Marsh has recently been accused of sexual harassment which he denied. He was hospitalized for two weeks with "various health issues, and was 76 at the time of his death. He wanted his epitaph to read "Thanks, everybody. I had a good time."
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Tacha Sculpture Saved!

Tacha Sculpture Saved. (Courtesy Athena Tacha) In an about face, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reversed a decision to demolish Athena Tacha's Green Acres, a site specific installation at the State's Department of Environmental Protection. Tacha is largely credited with bringing the land art movement into the social context of architecture. The 1985 sculpture's staying power remains contingent upon private funding to restore the piece. With Art Pride New Jersey, Preservation New Jersey, and The Cultural Landscape Foundation all rallying to the cause, Green Acres looks like it will remain the place to be.
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On View> Nancy Holt: Sightlines at the Graham Foundation

NANCY HOLT: Sightlines
The Graham Foundation
Four West Burton Place
Chicago
Through December 17

Beginning her artistic career in the 1960s, Nancy Holt helped pioneer the Land Art movement alongside artists like Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, who was her husband and occasional collaborator. Nancy Holt: Sightlines at the Graham Foundation presents documentation of over 40 of her monumental and ecologically-focused projects through photography, film, and artist’s books, revealing Holt’s eloquent mode of navigating the intersection of art and nature.

In Sun Tunnels, an installation and 1978 film (above), sunlight interacts with four concrete tunnels in the Great Basin Desert in Utah, exemplifying Holt’s interest in space and time by highlighting how the passage of the sun impacts each tunnel differently and in a way specific to that location. In addition to presenting previously unseen materials from the artist’s archive, the exhibition, which concentrates on the Holt’s work between 1966 and 1980, features the documentary Pine Barrens (1975) about undeveloped land in New Jersey, and documentation of the projects Swamp (1971, in collaboration with Smithson), Boomerang (1973, in collaboration with Serra), and the multi-monitor installation Points of View (1974), a piece that underscores the different perspectives we bring to viewing the landscape.