Earth art - earthworks

DEFINITION

A work of art, it is made either from sod or earth or resulting from modification of a portion of land. The first exhibition of Earth Art was in 1968 in New York City and had entries mostly composed of natural materials as mediums. Included were a pile of dirt by Robert Morris and boxes filled with rocks by Robert Smithson. Earth Art proved radical because from that time, many of its exponents actually went into the environment, often in remote places, and created landscape-altering works. Some of these projects have had permanent effects on the land such as Michael Heizer's "Nevada Depressions," a series of trenches in the desert. In another work, "Double Negative" of 1969 and 1970, Heiser, worked near the Virgin River Mesa in Nevada, and using bulldozers, displaced 240,000 tons of dirt. He called the result "Double Negative". Some Earth Art is impermanent such as Dennis Oppenheim's patterns in snow or the wrapping in plastic and rope of the Australia coastline in 1969 by Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Christo. A common desire shared by Earth Artists has been to circumvent the gallery-museum-collector pattern and to demonstrate interest in ecology and geology. Today the movement has gone in many directions and even claims an early 20th-century forbear, Gustom Borglum, who carved the presidential portraits in Mount Rushmore. In addition to those already mentioned, Earth Artists include Herbert Bayer, Isamu Noguchi, Del Geist, Andrew Leicester, Alan Saret, Claes Oldenberg, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Walter De Maria. Sources: "The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art; AskART.com database

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