Land Art

Land art is doubtless, one of the most unusual and challenging art forms of today. Land art is the creation of art using nature as a resource. The art form came into being in America during the 1970’s. A section of artists resorted to land art as a form of protest against the rapid commercialisation of art that was taking place in America and elsewhere. Early exponents of the art were against the notion that the museum was the only place artists needed to be concerned with. They shifted their focus from producing art works for the galleries and started to experiment with nature as a resource for their art. This led to the creation of large, monumental artworks in remote locations away from the cities. The artists wanted only the genuine art-lover to undertake the arduous journey required to view these installations and most early land art works are situated in far-away places specifically for this purpose.

The natural landscape is used in the creation of the project with added materials like concrete and metal. One of the most famous artists in this genre is American Robert Smithson whose most famous creation is the ‘Spiral Jetty’. This work was created on the north-eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. It is a 1500 foot long anticlockwise coil, made of basalt rock, mud, salt crystals and water. The end of the coil snakes out to join the shore. It is surrounded by mountains and when precipitation from the mountains occurs, the water level in the lake rises and the jetty is invisible. During times of drought, when precipitation is nil, the jetty can be seen.

Another important ongoing land art work and the largest to date, is the Roden Crater by James Turrell. The crater is an extinct volcanic cone, at an elevation of approximately 5400 feet and is situated near the Grand Canyon. This 400,000 year old cone is being turned into a naked eye observatory.

In the words of James Turrell,

At Roden Crater I was interested in taking the cultural artifice of art out into the natural surround. I did not want the work to be a mark upon nature, but I wanted the work to be enfolded in nature in such a way that light from the sun, moon and stars empowered the spaces … I wanted an area where you had a sense of standing on the planet. “

Land art requires the use of earth moving equipment and is perhaps one of the costliest art forms. Artists depend mostly on wealthy patrons to finance their work. The term ‘land art’ has now come to represent any form of art related to nature though it was initially coined to represent only the art works of the pioneers of the form.



Content Intern at The Fishbowl Network
Hi, I'm Maanasa, 17 years old, pursuing a B.Tech degree in Electronics in NIT Trichy.I love reading and creative writing. I like to write on issues that I care about. Learning to play the guitar is my newest challenge and I could watch 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S' all day long if I was asked to!You can connect with me on Facebook!

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