What is Land Art? Alternatively referred to as Earthworks, Earth Art and Land Art, in the 1960s and 70s, there emerged an aggregation of novel artistic practices keyed to the natural landscape. Located outside the mainstream art making and institutions, these practices challenged the ideas associated with art making, aesthetic categories and location.
Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty, 1970 (Great Salt Lake, Utah)
Land Art began as an American phenomenon, represented by artists such as Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, and Walther De Maria, only later spreading to Great Britain and continental Europe. As a way of avoiding traditional painting or sculpture, Land artists turned to the medium of landscape, using the earth as canvas and exploring caterpillars and bulldozers as artistic tools. Unlike its direct predecessor Arte Povera and Minimalism, Land Art privileged the natural habitat rather than the space of a conventional gallery. These early artworks — trenches, mounds, rocks, and excavations — demanded an open space and sense of scale unachievable in the city.
Richard Long: Sculpture, England, 1968
While Land artists understood themselves as explorers of the remote, vast landscapes of American deserts which became sites for their art, questioning the established perceptions of locality, objecthood, density, mass, and scale. Both historic and current present Land Art engages with the understanding of landscape not only as the earth’s physicality but also with the physiology and psychology of the viewer—a beholder and participant. (Text: Hanna Hölling)
– John Beardsley: Earthworks and Beyond. Contemporary Art in the Landscape. Abbeville Press, New York, 1998.
– Johannes M. Hedinger / Hanna Hölling: Documents of Land and Environmental Art, No. 1, Vexer Verlag St.Gallen/Berlin, 2018
– Philipp Kaiser, Miwon Kwon: Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974, Prestel München, 2012.
– Jeffrey Kastner, Brian Wallis: Land and Environmental Art. Phaidon, Boston, 1998.
– Michael Lailach: Land Art. Hrsg. Uta Grosenick, Taschen Verlag, Köln, 2007.
– Chris Taylor / Bill Gilbert: Land Arts of the American West, Texas, 2008
– Gilles A. Tiberghien: Land Art. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1995.
– Land Art @ Tate online resources
Com&Com: Bergkanzel, Art Safiental 2016