If art is to be relevant to the environment, it cannot remain only in an art context or in dialogue with art history. The vast majority of writings about land art in the American West is focused entirely on its art-ness, whether through an aesthetic, art-historical, or human interest lens. Where is the geologic activity? Where are the Native Americans? Where are the watersheds? In order to be relevant to the issues plaguing our world today — such as the prevalence of plastics, or climate change — we need writing that contextualizes these artworks within a deep reading of the land itself.
By Ben Valentine