Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (Great Salt Lake), 1970.Environmental Art
What is Environmental Art?• Art that examines and improves our relationship with nature. Examines nature and its processes, or educates us about environmental problems • Artworks affected or powered by wind, water, lightning, even earthquakes • Re-envisions our relationship to nature, proposing new ways for us to co-exist with our environment • Reclaims damaged environments, restoring ecosystems in artistic and often aesthetic ways http://www.greenmuseum.org/what_is_ea.php
When did it Originate?• 1960’s and 1970’s.• A group of artists in the United States and Europe began to experiment with sculpting the earth and creating sculptures with natural materials
Materials• Sticks Rocks• Grass• Leaves Bark• Sand• Water Seeds• Seedpods “Tight Chalk Spiral” by Martin Waters
Photography and Environmental ArtBecause environmental art isoften made to disappear ortransform over time, ordesigned for a particularplace, photography is theprimary way to permanentlycapture environmental art.
Historical Connections• 1968 - the first photo of earth made people realize the smallness of our world in the vastness of the universe. 1970 - U.S. celebrated the first Earth Day; Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).• Anti-nuclear weapons groups also helped spur a greater respect for the environment. Apollo 8s Earthrise, December 24, 1968
Robert Smithson• 1938 - 1973 American• One of his main themes was entropy • “entropy is a condition that is moving toward a gradual equilibrium” Explored the balance of opposites • nature/culture • space/time monument/anti-monument • site/non-site
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (Great Salt Lake), 1970.
Nancy Holt• 1938 - American• Filmmaker/Photographer /Environmental Artist Creates Earthworks - “literally seeing devices, fixed points for tracking the positions of the sun, earth and stars.”
Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (Great Basin Desert, Utah), 1976.
Walter de Maria• 1935 - American• Land Artist• Creates art that allows the viewer to physically and emotionally connect to nature.• His art asks viewers to think about the relationship between earth and the universe.
Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977. Long-term installation in Western New Mexico.
Andy Goldsworthy• 1956 - British The founder of modern rock balancing• Creates art that is meant to change and decay over time, which he documents through photography.
Andy Goldsworthy, Knotweed stalks Derwent Water, Cumbria
The Link to environmentalism• Environmentalists are concerned with issues such as pollution, preserving the natural habitat of animals, global warming, disease, endangered species, and technologies that are harmful to the environment. Not all environmental art is environmentally friendly, or carries an environmentalist message. • Some environmental works actually harm the surrounding environment, or hurt the habitat of the native animals, plants, and other organisms.
TextChristo & Jeanne-Claude were often accused of harming the natural environments used in their installations. Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Valley Curtain (Rifle, Colorado), 1970-1972.
Eco Art• A contemporary form of environmental art.• Eco artists strive to improve the environment, or make others aware of environmental concerns, through their work, and try to use sustainable or recycled materials in their work.
The Living Water Garden in central Chengdu, China, is a park dedicated to highlighting the importance of water and waterconservation. Sculptures act as part of a filtering system which channels water throughout the park. Betsy Damon, "The Living Water Garden", Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, 1999.
This sculpture, by British artist Jill Townsley, was createdby recycling 9,375 paper till rolls, which were formed intocones and assembled over a 4-day period by 20 volunteers. Till Rolls, (2011), Jill Townsley