when people ask me what my artistic medium is, i frequently describe my primary one as collage and assemblages. it’s interesting in this moment to be attempting to put together a series of articles and ideas, and realizing that it’s an assemblage, too. a variation on a word cloud… an idea cloud, perhaps?
i will also resist linearity in this collage, and go spirally. indeed perhaps i go widdershins! i just posted on the book of faces about an extraordinary NYT article about the Spiral Jetty by Heidi Julavits where numerous current paths seem to coincide. One tributary is thus, “Sites and nonsites, in other words, involve the equal interplay of consciousness and matter.”
Flowing into this were a few notions that have been percolating for a bit lately. in fact, i believe i’ve posted before about the ongoing conversation between Riccardo Manzotti and Tim Parks in the NY Review of Books about consciousness: “In short, our consciousness is the world—or the objects—that we experience. There are no manufactured representations of that world or those objects in the head.”
This brought me to some of the healing work that Rick Hanson has offered to me and the world. the most recent i noticed was a workshop at Spirit Rock called No-self in the brain: insights from neuroscience: “In this workshop, we will cover: Buddhist perspectives on the interconnectedness of all things and thus the ’emptiness’ of any apparent thing; the four defining characteristics of the presumed ‘I’; the absence of these characteristics in both your experience and your brain; why the apparent ‘I’ is not just ’empty’ but actually does not exist; ways to fill the hole in the heart and thus reduce self-ing…”
the final piece to add to this collage relates to my artist-in-residence that i have begun at Sunset Art Studios in the Elmwood neighborhood of Oak Cliff. as we are planning for my practices and events over the next two months (more on that soon!), they offer some research threads for me to look up. one of them is Leigh Arnold, assistant curator at the Nasher sculpture center, who i found is working on an all women show on land art:
AB: You are actually currently working on an all-women show.
LA: Yes, but it’s some ways off, in 2020. I’m preparing an exhibition on women involved in the Land art movement. I wrote a dissertation on Robert Smithson. When I was writing the dissertation, Nancy Holt—Smithson’s wife—was still alive, and I was in contact with her quite a bit. I worked with her on a show at the Dallas Museum of Art on Smithson in Texas [2013-14]. She had all of this footage that she had filmed during the making of the Amarillo Ramp (1973) which, as everybody knows, Smithson died making. Holt hadn’t looked at that footage since it happened, which is insane because 40 years of time had passed at that point. But she worked on that footage and made a film for the exhibition. That was the last thing she ever did.
After that I realized Holt had this entire body of work that nobody knows or talks about. The only way she comes up [in an art historical context] is in connection to Smithson. So then I started thinking about other women who were involved in Land art who were also were overlooked and never actually considered. Because, to this day when you think of Land art you think of men: Smithson, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, etc. But there were a lot of women involved.