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Tony: there are individual books on Smithson, Christo, and Stan Herd, and
some of their work is cocered in EARTHWORKS AND BEYOND by John Beardsley
(see teacher resources biblio.) as well as many articles on each of these
To Arizonans, looking for an interesting eco-art on the desert, check out
Jody Pinto's Papago PArk/City Boundary project, a public art sculpture
based on ancient Hohokam techniques of water capture, which seems to be
reclaiming a desert area. You can go see it--let me know what it's like.
A nice essay on the project written by Jody is in SCULPTING WITH THE
ENVIRONMENT , ed. Baile Oakes. (see teacher resources biblio)
On Public Space and social reclaimation, see Suzi Gablik's REENCHANTMENT OF
ART and various works by Lucy Lippard, including her new book, THE LURE OF
On social reclamation and class concerns, does anyone know the work of an
artist whose name might be Alfredo Jarre, who does excellent photo & mixed
media installations on environmental racism; i.e. dumping toxic waste in
undeveloped areas of the world, etc. Saw a wonderful piece of his recently
in the Chicago contemporary museum.
Larisa, what about trying to make "ecological living" trendy instead of
"consumption of objects" or better yet, can we dump "trendy"? New issue
of Utne reader has articles on dumping "hip"., recent ones talk about
simplifying your life, getting back to "real", etc.
Responses to Lisa's excellent questions about my habitat art:
1. Natural materials vs. durable non-degradable --I prefer materials which
will eventually biodegrade. On the other hand, and about "non-natural"
symbols, I don't believe we can replicate nature and often our attempts to
try end up looking worse than an honest, human aesthetic response. I feel
my work is best as PART OF A RECLAMATION project, temporary until NATURE
CAN TAKE OVER the functions it is filling. In some case I have to use
durable materials because of outside administrative concerns. On some
sites which are clearly artificial they seem appropriate to me.
2. If nature hasn't provided and man hasn't disturbed a balance, why would
a species be there anyway? are we talking zoos? I'm not sure what you are
getting at. I work to contribute to natural habitat, not to create
3. I'm not sure what the question is--do you object to making a lasting
artwork that supports wildlife?
4. there are two aspects of the aesthetic dimension which interest me.
First, I have to make the peice "attractive" to the animal--in the most
basic sense of the word, to attract the animal into using the sculpture.
Secondly, I want the sculpture to have an aesthetic which pleases me as an
artist because I feel the need to honor our relationship with other species
by creating my best work. I have a hard time with degrading the
environment with rubber tires and plastic buckets (two favorites of game
management) as nesting structures). I wouldn't invite a friend to dinner
and serve rancid hotdogs on stale buns, either. Do you know anything about
the Japaneese tea ceremony--a coming together to honor friendship and
5. No, I can't seem to make enough sculptures to save all the wildlife
that needs saving. I can only make the best gestures I can make, help
inform people of my ideas as a way to amplify that gesure,and raise
awareness of the issues involved, and try to live a more ecological
lifestyle to lower my impact on the earth. How much can any one person do?
This is one of the major frustrations of environmental work.
6. I agree; see response #1
7. You're right again. There is much thought that such things as
ecotourism can save the environment. I see it as a double edged sword.
Many of my pieces are not publicized and I have agreements not to reveal
their locations. People see then only as representations (photos, models).
In other areas, such as one of my sites in Mexico, we hope to use the art
to increase eco-tourism just enough to keep a reserve going, otherwise the
village will cut the forest and plant corn. As much as we hate to, we do
sometimes have to conpromise, especially when working in public and
Thanks for the stimulating q's; I'll be glad to respond to any
clarifications if I didn't understand any of them.