About three hours north of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the largest contemporary art installation on the planet. 1.5 mile by 0.5 mile wide engraving, city, by land artist Michael Heiser, with “high and low allusions to Mayan and Inca ruins and interstate highways,” according to the work’s website, “forms made of compacted earth, rock, and concrete.” It is a vast complex of mounds and depressions that has been built. New York Times. Only 6 visitors are allowed city Every day, visits for 2022 are already closed.
50 years in the making, Heiser’s giant sculpture cityofficially opened last week and is known as Land Art. This was an art movement that emerged internationally in his 1960s and his 70s, famous for developing large-scale sculptural earthwork projects directly on the landscape.They are designed to exist outside museums and galleries, and Heiser is one of the movement’s heavyweights. His 1969 work double negativeIt is the foundation that blasted 240,000 tons of rock from Mesa, Nevada, once home to the Southern Paiute people, to create trenches.But Robert Smithson’s spiral pieris perhaps the best-known example of a 1,500-foot-long black basalt coil movement on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. One of his ideas for the Land Art Movement is to create value in the landscape in the same way art in museums is valued.
Of course, the value lies in the heart of US land. More precisely, it is at the center of the land disputes in the United States. These ideas gravitate towards the notion of an oasis of nationalism. It is found in images that became popular during the Great Depression through art projects.
These are more or less fantasies based on John Gust’s patriotic paintings american progress – An allegory of Manifesto Destiny, featuring the figure of “Progress” in flowing white robes, crowned with an imperial star, and heading west as Indians and buffalo shrink from her light in the corner of the canvas. floating.
The early artistic vision of the American canon may have influenced the emerging land artists who grew up in the wake of the Wild West and the New Deal. In the mid-twentieth century, American land artists began to perceive land values differently. Manifesto Heeded his call of destiny, the Indians on horse and plow, headed to his territory, redeemed and remade the land, unlike their grandparents, land artists cut and blasted the terrain to their liking. I saw it as an empty canvas to reshape together. Instead of cultivating the land for agriculture, land artists like Heiser physically transform the landscape into something of cultural value, alchemizing colonization into an art form, into the monumental. Did.
Judging by the photo, city A surprisingly impressive sculpture. “A monumental piece of architecture comparable in size to the National Mall in Washington DC,” he wrote in 2016, The New Yorker.
Built on Paiute land seized from the tribe by executive order on February 12, 1874, city It benefits from land acquired without a treaty and has never been paid by the federal government or residents to its indigenous caretakers.Overseen non-profit organization, Triple Oak Foundation city“I respectfully admit that city Created within the ancestral domain of the Nuwu (Southern Paiute) and Newe (Western Shoshone).
Instead, Heizer says land is in his blood, citing his grandfather’s arrival in Nevada and running a tungsten mine in the 1880s as evidence for his claims. Never mind that between 1863 and 1874 he had nearly the entire state seized from the tribes without a single treaty or agreement. This allowed Heiser’s grandfather to safely move there and earn a living off the land with the full support of the US military.
Time flies fast: Just two generations later, Heiser draws inspiration from Native American mound architectural traditions and the pre-Columbian ceremonial cities of Central and South America, city Smacked in the middle of stolen Indian territory.
“I thought of the ‘city’ like Mount Rushmore and Hoover Dam,” writes New York Times reporter Michael Kimmelman. “It’s brave, it’s brilliant, it’s nutty, it’s a testament to what a kind of crusty kind of America can do.”
The important thing to note about land art is that it has a long history. Think Stonehenge or the Sphinx. The Nazca Lines and the Ho Chunk Statue Mound.Navajo artists say, “Land art has been around since humans existed, and when humans in the past created works of land art, it celebrated the land they lived in or were from. You know, it was about trying to fit in with the land.” Raven Chacon in the 2017 documentary Through Repellent Fences: Land Art Film.
Mount Rushmore, a testament to “American can-do-ism,” offers another example of this form. U.S. President who was illegally taken from the Lakota and blown up in the Black Hills in 1876 (and so recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 and ordered to be returned to the nation by the United Nations in 2012) carved with a huge face. From 1927 to his 1941, there was a mountain of cultural and religious significance to the Lakota people in the face of Tushkashirashakpe, grandfather of six. The Times, Mount Rushmore, city While offering a fine example of land art as a practice of ultra-patriotism, for Indigenous peoples, these monuments offer a different and more challenging experience.
“I think what Robert Smithson and Michael Heiser tried to do in the ’60s was destroy the land,” said Chacon. Over the avoidance fence“That’s my opinion. They’re recognized because they continued to destroy the Earth, and they continued to go and colonize different places they felt were theirs.”
The sound of white guilt drowns out the drama of standing rock on “On Sacred Ground”
Of the tribes that still have a land base, these lands are on average more susceptible to climate change, such as extreme heat and less rainfall, and tribal-run environmental and land buyback programs are inconsistent. are short of funds. cityOn the other hand, it took 50 years, cost $40 million, and required the construction of thousands of tons of concrete, rock, and other materials.tribal land city Are you building on the funding for that song? Buying back stolen land is, of course, an option for him, but that privilege is quickly disappearing. In 2015, after years of petitions from art moguls, President Obama allowed the land to be encircled. city It has become a national monument and effectively protects the area from development, oil and gas exploration, and of course Indians.
“I only compare it to itself,” Michael Govan, curator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and board member of the Triple Auto Foundation, tells Smithsonian Magazine. “This is artwork that recognizes our primal urge to construct and organize space, but also our modernity, our human experience of time and space, and what we have built. It incorporates an awareness and reflection on the subjectivity of the history of many civilizations.”
in a slavish review of the Times city, Heiser described his finished work as “democratic art, the art of the times”, adding: you can figure it out yourself. It’s a sullen comment from a man who’s spent his entire life building things. city It’s a mark of his own ego.But that’s not all: Heizer’s key city Art is what keeps the status quo at the $40 million level, understanding that artists are agents of the bourgeoisie, difficult concepts, patriotism and revolution, working to reconcile places and communities. doing. Sometimes it stimulates the art market for its next investment, sometimes it raises questions and initiates ideas and conversations never thought of before. As a representative of the land art movement, Heiser’s monumental work reveals that land art is perhaps the most American art form, its existence dependent entirely on a history of violence and expropriation. did.
But look deeper at American land artists as agents of stagnation. city It re-engraves the values of colonialism in the landscape, regenerating the invisible power structures that made creation possible. Eventually, city It’s not art: it’s a monument to the power of violence.