E is for Earthwork

| February 18, 2014

In class last year, for principles and practices of Arts Administration we went on an eye opening field trip to two New York City installations Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room at 141 Wooster Street and Walter De Maria, The Broken Kilometer at 393 West Broadway. Both of these sites are run by the DIA foundation…which sparked my interest into finding out what else does DIA do, are there more of these type of sites? I engaged in some informal learning researching DIA and quickly found myself adding to my list of places I wanted to see. Two more Walter De Maria sites The Lightning Field, Western New Mexico and The Vertical Earth Kilometer in Friedrichsplatz Park in Kassel, Germany. The most famous of the DIA sites, and the site brought to mind when hearing the term Earthwork is Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970 in Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake Box Elder County, Utah. The term was coined by Smithson to discuss Earth art which links the landscape and the work. These works can use the landscape to create the art, many are ephemeral and are mostly site specific. This is also an important rejection of the museum and gallery aesthetic and an embrace of the natural world. Recently, James Turrell an artist who creates earthworks, had a retrospective at the Guggenheim which was extremely well attended and received a lot of attention in the press, though was criticized by some Turrell fans because the light installation in the Guggenheim lobby was created with artificial light and not actually open to the air which is normally a quality of his light installations . Turrell is continuing to experience popularity due to his many shows at four major museums last year.