LAND ARTS OF THE AMERICAN WEST PROGRAM
Land Arts of the American West, at the University of New Mexico, is an ongoing experiment and interdisciplinary model for creative and critical arts pedagogy based in place. This program puts students in direct contact with place of the American Southwest through Field Investigations, Research, Creative Production, and Public Presentation/Dissemination of projects. During the program, students travel extensively throughout the Southwest for up to 50 days, while camping and investigating environmental sites, human habitation systems, and questions facing the region. Methodologies include the melding of direct experience, critical research, creative inquiry, interdisciplinary collaboration, and artistic production. Recent topics of investigations have focused on Watershed, US/Mexico Border, Foodshed, Utopian Architecture, Land Use, and Eminent Domain.
Land Arts of the American West is made possible, in part, by the generous contribution of Lannan Foundation.
Bill Gilbert started the Land Arts program at the University of New Mexico, in 2000, based on ten years of field programming at Acoma Pueblo and Juan Mata Ortiz, Mexico. In 2000, John Wenger served as co-director, contributing his experience of over 25 years in the wilderness of northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah. Between 2002 and 2006, the Land Arts program operated as a joint venture between Bill Gilbert (UNM) and Chris Taylor (UT). Professor Chris Taylor currently directs his own Land Arts program at Texas Tech University, http://landarts.arch.ttu.edu/. In 2005 and 2007, Erika Osborne co-directed the program at UNM. Catherine Harris joined the program, in 2009, as Art & Ecology faculty, and Jeanette Hart-Mann (Land Arts program 2000) assumed responsibility for the program field logistics. In 2012, Jeanette Hart-Mann began co-directing the program with Bill Gilbert.
GRADUATE AND POST-GRADUATE RESEARCH AND PROJECT GRANTS - Grant Information and Application
The Land Arts of the American West (LAAW) program has received a five year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the creation and operation of the Land Arts Mobile Research Center (LAMRC). In 2015, LAMRC will be offering grants to students who have participated in the Land Arts of the American West field program. These grants will support current MFA thesis projects, international travel for research projects, as well as post-MFA research. Please see Grant Information and Application for details.
Documentary Film - Moving Mountains - Land Arts of the American West
Moving Mountains - Land Arts of the American West, is a current film project by director and producer, Sam Wainwright Douglas of Big Beard Films (Citizen Architect), which explores the western phenomenon of Land Arts through the immersive, field-based, pedagogical experiment of the Land Arts of the American West program. The production of this film is still underway and seeking financial sponsorship through the Austin Film Society.
In 2009 the University of Texas Press published the book, Land Arts of the American West, presenting the ongoing collaboration in which artist Bill Gilbert and architect Chris Taylor investigate and create land art with their students. The book is organized around places visited over the first seven years of the program. The over 400 color photographs are accompanied by descriptive information about the site’s natural and human history; student journal entries presenting first-person experiences; essays by William L. Fox, Ann Reynolds, J.J. Brody, and Lucy Lippard; and interviews with Mary Lewis Garcia, Graciela Martinez de Gallegos and Hector Gallegos, and Matthew Coolidge. Woven throughout the text is a conversation amongst Gilbert, Taylor, and writer William L. Fox, covering the Land Arts program’s origins, pedagogic mission, field operations, interactions with guest lecturers, and future directions.