Environmental art

One of the most extraordinary works of Environmental Art is Walter de Maria’s “Lightening Field,” created in 1977 outside Quemado, New Mexico.¬† How does this work¬† encourage us to think about connections between art (that which is made by human hands) and nature (that which we find in the world)?

Walter de Maria, Lightening Field, 1977

Walter de Maria, Lightening Field, 1977

Read Blake Gopnik’s article from the Washington Post (August 13, 2009) for more…

7 thoughts on “Environmental art

  1. mhowell2

    I thought this article was rather interesting. I have heard of people making land art before, but not to this extent. I have heard of people cultivating plants in order to make them into some interesting form, however, I have never heard of land art that is so interactive. What struck me the most is that only six times of the year and only six people can witness it. This makes it even more capturing that this is a rare piece of artwork in its own way. Whats more is that this is a special once in a lifetime piece. It can change drastically each time that you see it. It is not stoic like a painting or a sculptor that will always be poised in the same form, but it changes in various ways each time.

  2. Shilpa Sadarangani

    I found this article fascinating. Although it’s hard for me to vision the beauty of the roads during the daytime or even at night when there is no thunderstorm, I can clearly see it’s attractiveness during a thunderstorm. It’s amazing that an artist was able to harness the beauty in nature and share it with the rest of the world. I will admit that I don’t understand the “true meaning” behind the work. Besides showcasing the beauty of nature, I don’t see how the work is a statement on the future of the world or even how it represents the West, as the article states. Regardless, it seems like a beautiful piece of work that’s worth the trek.

  3. Haley Harkins

    The idea of land art is so brilliant, to blend your hand with mother nature’s is an extravagant way to achieve a work of art. The uniqueness of this lighting model is intriguing because so few can see it, but those who do describe wonderful sights. I believe it is important to focus on the basics when developing a work of art, but this is to a whole different level because what is more of a blank slate or basic than the enviroment, the Earth. As well as the spectacular show the lightning brings, it also creates a personal and unique view for the onlooker since it can never be the same twice. This is a true testament to the combination of beauty in art and the natural world.

  4. Miranda Lovett

    Nature has been the inspiration of art since art was first created. Humans have progressed in finding new mediums to convey their ideas about nature and I think this is just the next step in the process. I think this is a wonderful idea and more people should be aware of it. I sure wasn’t!

  5. Mariela Valverde

    I think environmental art is one of my favorites, because it’s a little unpredictable as well as one of a kind (in the context of this particular Lightening Field).
    This article was very interesting and I think also the Lightening Field showcases the beauty of nature and the way it is art in itself. You can not recreate a lighting bolt or the aesthetic it creates when it strikes.
    This also shows how artists have the ability to capture and showcase nature in ways that can show why nature is so important. I think sometimes we have become numb to the fact that we are surrounded by beauty and how nature should not be taken for granted. And to make nature, “art”, we don’t need to physically alter it with our hands. It should be done with great care.

  6. Caroline Thompson

    This article is especially fascinating to me personally because I love thunderstorms. This type of art is special because unlike art made with human hands, you have to capture the right moment of when the lightening hits the metal or else it’s gone forever since no lightening strike is ever the same. It’s beauty comes from how unique and different each strike is. Art made by human hands cannot be captured the same way as nature because nature is always changing.

  7. Crisa Young

    I became familiar with De Maria’s “Lightning Field” at the beginning of the Environmental Art course this semester. It is truly a masterful execution of an artists manipulation of the most incredible and often unwieldy parts of the environment. His design makes this beautiful and intimate relationship in the overlooked and undervalued experience of lightning strikes. They are a regular part of weather patterns and often it is impossible to truly appreciate and experience the act of the air suddenly releasing such powerful energy into a physical force. I cannot imagine how such an idea came to fruition much less how it could have been so finely executed. Never, in my wildest dreams would I ever consider using lightning as a stoke of my paint brush. After all, lightning bolts are only to be wielded by the God of Gods Himself.


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