Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University College of Architecture and the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) announce Land Arts 2012 Exhibition. An opening reception will take place from 6-9 p.m. April 5 at the LHUCA Warehouses at 1001 Mac Davis Lane in Lubbock, Texas.

The exhibition culminates the semester-long interdisciplinary field program Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech in the College of Architecture and presents documents, objects and constructions by Zoe Berg (art student at University of Texas at Austin), Katy Chrisler (poet with MFA from Writers Workshop at University of Iowa), Cade Hammers (architecture student at Texas Tech), Luis Martín Medina (architecture student at Texas Tech), Maura Murnane (New York based artist), Colleen O’Brien (art student at Texas Tech), Jigga Patel (architecture student at Texas Tech), Nicholas Pierce (poetry and creative writing student at Texas Tech), Arie Ruvinsky (artist with BFA from Goldsmiths Univeristy of London), Cecilia Stewart (architecture student at Texas Tech). Chris Taylor, director of Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech, leads the program and was assisted in the field by Texas Tech alumni Jose Villanueva. Land Arts 2012 field season was made possible with generous operational support from Andrea Nasher and support from the James Family Foundation.

Land Arts of the American West is a field program investigating the intersection of geomorphology and human construction. Land art or earthworks begin with the land and extend through the complex social and ecological processes that create landscape. Encompassing constructions that range from petroglyphs to roads, dwellings, monuments and traces of those actions, earthworks show us who we are. Examining gestures small and grand, Land Arts directs our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and track in the sand, to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military-industrial installations. Land Arts is a semester abroad in our own back yard investigating the American landscape through immersion, action and reflection.

Students participating in the 2012 field season traveled 6,000 miles visiting locations across the Southwest camping for two months as they explored natural and human forces that shape contemporary landscapes—ranging from geology and weather to cigarette butts and hydroelectric dams. The itinerary included: White Sands, Jackpile Mine, Laguna Pueblo, Chaco Canyon, Muley Point, Moon House, Bingham Canyon Mine, Spiral Jetty, Sun Tunnels, Center for Land Use Interpretation Wendover, Double Negative, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Galisteo, Marfa, Cabinetlandia, Gila Hot Springs, Mimbres River, Chiricahua Mountains, Coolidge Dam on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Plains of San Agustin, Very Large Array, and The Lightning Field.

In recent years developments emanating from Land Arts of the American West continue to multiply. In 2011 the New York Times published a feature on the program and filmmaker Sam Douglas, creator of Citizen Architect, began work on a new project about Land Arts of the American West tentatively titled Moving Mountains: Land Arts of the American West. Since 2009 Chris Taylor has been involved in the making of JG, a film project by the artist Tacita Dean that opens at the Arcadia University Gallery on February 7, 2013. The Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts awarded Chris Taylor and Steve Badgett a grant in 2012 for the design and construction of the Great Salt Lake Exploration Platform that will augment the programming of the Wendover base of the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Land Arts continues to recruit participants from within the Texas Tech community and beyond.


2012 Field Season Documentation


All images by Chris Taylor, Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University.