Ends of the Earth

Land Art

Running until September 3, 2012, is the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Ends of the Earth, Land Art to 1974.  A retrospective of artists who have engaged with Terra Firma to express their creative selves.  An example: An artist perches on a cliff side, boards and hammer at the ready, he places his back against the wind and begins to build a sculpture; as the wind changes direction, the artist adjusts and the sculpture is built out in a slightly new direction.   Another artist addresses what it means to be on site and off site, an examination of where art begins and ends.  A photographer releases gases into the environment, documenting the colorless, invisible escape — should he be trusted or is he full of hot air?

Creating art to display cleverness never impresses me much, I understand the party banter allure all too well.  There is much here that is both “clever,” and dated, however, there are also pieces that manage to both make a statement and deploy graphic punch.

A brass tracing of the changing maps of the Middle East in newspapers during the Six Day War, manages to evoke, not only how borders are transient and superficial, but also how addresses are little more than placards and trophies, a shiny button of prestige and ownership.  Being reflective, we see how we are still influenced today by our past, while the repetition of country outlines begets a charm bracelet greed — you want to own just one more.

Connected to the gallery is the relevant and impressive work of Cai Guo-Qiang, whose own forays into land art are explosive!!!  Be sure to enjoy both the installation and the accompanying films.  Through July 30th, 2012.

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