Thursday, December 8, 2011

Modern Art Presentations

Students in the Modern Art course have been giving presentations on art movements and sub-movements, approaches, and media of the past half century. Topics this week have included assemblage, photography, architecture, pop art, minimalism, feminism, and earthworks. Despite the cold and, yes, snow flurries! students left the art building, under Katie's direction, and went across the street to create an earthwork first hand. The task: to engage and make work with the earth or the living environment.

As readers of the blog may know, my personal and professional interest in public art extends to land art as well. While there are multiple definitions of this movement (and, as Katie pointed out today, Stokstad only gives us two paragraphs of information about this movement), I see earthworks and land art as one of the defining shifts in modern art. The premise of this sub field (pun intended) is straightforward and two-fold. Land art and earth art/earthworks, a movement and classification of public art that emerged in the 1960s and continues today, makes the earth both a canvas and the pedestal for works. Such artworks are intended primarily as permanent, large-scale forms in wide-open spaces and in particularized natural environments, such as along a river, within a lake, amidst a field, or in an urban setting. Examples include Claes Oldenburg's Placid Civic Monument (1967), Michael Heizer's Double Negative (1969-1970), Walter de Maria's The Lightning Field (1974-1977), James Turrell's Roden Crater (1977-present), Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Valley Curtain (1970-72), and Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels (1973-76).

Our earthwork was conceived in the space across from the Art Building -- the grassy area that Allison Warren once took up for her public art piece, Crossing (after Whitman). As a class, we chose to create one work rather than single works individually. Aptly titled A Pile of Sticks (We're Very Literal), the installation/earthwork was created with natural materials only and without the aid of any connective materials or alterations of the form in order to join elements. See top photo for the completed work. While A Pile of Sticks (We're Very Literal) may not withstand the semester or, even the day, we hope that you enjoy this ephemeral earthwork.

Our next project is the Modern Art Game Day. Join us on Monday, December 12 in the Wilson Gallery around 12:30 (giving us time to set up the games at noon). All are welcome to join us!

PS to TJ: Thanks for taking our photos.
PPS: as a way to link this post with the previous one by Darrell, see this information on a new exhibition in Paris on anamorphosis, that is, an image that needs to be seen from a special angle to be seen without distortion. Story here.


Boris Zakic said...

look forward to Mon. Is anyone discussing A. Warren's piece?

Earl Grey said...

There's no plan to discuss her piece, or the chasm that it left. However, I'm open to it over coffee/tea anytime.