This week saw the opening of Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 at The Geffin Contemporary; the first “historical-thematic” of its kind to deal with Land Art and its exciting emergence in the 1960s. The exhibition is justifiably broad and is being accompanied by a brilliant online catalogue to help contextualise the works by the various and ambitious artists.
Each artwork, listed in order of its maker(s), is linked to their original or proposed location in real-time using Google Maps. The design by OK Focus and Ways & Means allows the viewer to experience the work in both contemporary and historical terms, presented as we are with the original images and copy and its location today.
The artists featured literally moved earth (or wrapped it, or removed it) to create their art so that the landscape itself became the medium and not just the subject. It’s a fascinating collection and one that continues to defy expectations in art with the legendary likes of Robert Smithson (regarded as having coined the term “Land Art”) and his Spiral Jetty in the salt lakes of Utah which the map proves is still visible; the groundbreaking, largest ever single art piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude who swathed a whole coastline in material; to the unrealised but equally important work in terms of its social mindedness, Cube of Forest on the Golden Gate by Superstudio.
Now showing until September 3, Ends of the Earth has been organised by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.