LAND / ART (New Mexico)

A collaborative exploration of land-based art in New Mexico


During the summer and fall 2009, a group of New Mexico arts organizations joined together to present LAND/ART, which explored relationships of land, art, and community through exhibitions, site-specific art works, lectures, and a culminating book. The collaboration focused on “environmental” or “land” art, and sought to address our changing relationship to nature, and to offer a new or previously unconsidered understanding of the place in which we live.

Historically, New Mexico has been a place where the intersection of nature and culture is at issue. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the American Southwest was the location of the first generation of Land Art or Earthworks, including such major projects as Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field and Charles Ross’ Star Axis in New Mexico, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels in Utah, and James Turrell’s Roden Craterin Arizona. Since then, the Land Art genre has been subsumed under the more general term “environmental art” which is a highly diverse and vital feature of contemporary art around the world. This new genre recognizes that what we now think of as the “environment” has broadened to include the global community, the microscopic world, and cyber space as well as wilderness, the urban environment and suburban sprawl. It includes ecological activism, reclamation and remediation projects, and ephemeral site-specific performances, among many other approaches, all of which have in common art and artists that respond to features of our natural environment.