Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Observational Kits...

... will be occurring soon but first there is Iceland. Until next time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Earthworks Road Trip Through the Binoculars

The theme that keeps on giving...

Two versions of the Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd's Concrete Sculptures (so blurry it hurts)

Marfa Lights Observation Building at Sunset (these are the only Marfa Lights we saw and they were photographed from a telescope)

Imagine Walter De Maria's Lightning Field at sunset here.

Very Large Array, Socorro, New Mexico

South Kaibob Trail, South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona

Michael Heizer's Double Negative with and without scale reference.

Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels (ideal for the format)

Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spiral Jetty - Three Visits in 28 Hours

The evening of 18th May. The horizon is straight. The vehicle is crooked.

View of Spiral Jetty through Trevor's phone during the rainstorm on the evening of the 18th.

I take this photograph every visit but this time I forgot to have someone photograph me.

The sky over the top of Spiral Jetty while standing in the middle (for Kristin Reeves). 

During the rainstorm on the 18th May.

Steamed window #1.

Steamed window #2 (both of the above on the 18th May).

Morning of the 19th May.

Practice/demo jetties on the evening of the 19th.

 Sunset on the 19th May.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sun Tunnels (and sheep!)

How often is one stopped by a train en route to an earthwork? We were in Lucin, Utah.

The view from the backseat shows Lexi in the mirror and a couple from Italy in the distance.

My third visit to Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels produced very little sun. This was a brief glimpse of the only shadows we saw inside the sculpture over the two hours we spent there.

I had a long list of performative actions that I solicited from others for Sun Tunnels. For many of them, I enlisted help from willing participants on the field study. The beginning of Hannah Barnes' request for a sun salutation in the middle of the tunnels was performed by four of us but the finale featured me throwing a heart of mud to the east. Photo by Kyla Tighe.

Here Sarah Lassiter is blowing bubbles from a hole that could possible point toward Draco for Nate Larson's request. There is also a hyper lapse video of a variation on Amelia Morris' desire to see me/us crawl through one (the ending is on Instagram).

This was one of my favorite moments when everyone was sketching or observing the artwork. I spent a great deal of time silently studying this piece and look forward to eventually revealing what contents will appear in the Observational Kit.

We drove the northerly route from Sun Tunnels to Spiral Jetty and once again, we were stopped by an obstruction in the road: sheep! This time it proved to be more entertaining as many photographs and videos were taken of the bleating lambs.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

West Wendover, CLUI and the Bonneville Speedway

After a very long day of driving through multiple time zones (beginning in Las Vegas and stopping at Double Negative) we arrived at a not so classy motel in Wendover, Utah. Above is the West Wendover Montego Bay Resort as it was more glorious than our dive that featured a bedspread that looked like it came from a nine year old boy's room (at a cabin in the woods far from civilization thirty years ago).

Oh smoke filled casinos, how I equally loathe and am fascinated by thee. Montego Bay may have come straight out of the 1980s with the color choices (think Miami Vice) and the patron's hairstyles.

The next day we woke up early to visit CLUI and after obtaining the combination from the Los Angeles location where I visited in December, we were free to roam three of the buildings. I found the Golden Spike! Amazingly, it was not under lock down and was in dire need of dusting and relabeling.

A display case with objects found on the old Wendover base was included in the Visitor's Center. The Hulk was filmed here and I made it a point to text my brother that I saw a (supposed) prop. He was less enthusiastic than I was despite his love for the green comic book character.

I wish I jotted down the name of this former CLUI resident who photographed items submerged in the salt water. Of particular interest was this typewriter encased in salt crystals, yet its original form was still recognizable.

The Bonneville Speedway is under water more often than not each time I see it. Even though that isn't good for racing, it is excellent for photographs similar to thousands of others taken and posted on social media.

Another view through the back seat of the Chrysler van.

Here I am looking minute in the landscape as photographed by Kyla Tighe. Next stop: Sun Tunnels where all kinds of antics took place (er ... artwork was made).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Double Negative: Entropy at Its Finest

It was only in the 80ºs when visiting Michael Heizer's Double Negative this year (it beat the 115º heat from 2009). The Space, Land and Concept... crew descends into the South side of the earthwork.

The view across across to the North side. There is a photographer from Los Angeles stationed with a tripod at the top of the opening. Lexi and Sarah are looking at a geocaching box at the closest end of the cut.

Six years have wreaked havoc on the earthwork. Large chunks of stone have fallen since the last visit and it was inadvisable to walk too close to the edge when peering down from above.

I noticed (spoiler alert for future Observational Kit) that the remains of many fire pits littered the base of Double Negative. This was photographed from the South side looking East toward the Virgin River.

For the first time, I traversed the Mormon Mesa to view it from the North side. Our vehicles are barely visible for scale reference.

Rubble on the North side.

A couple days ago, I looked at the envelope in which Camden sent me the concrete block and was shocked to see it dated 2012. I have been chipping and tossing this around the globe for three years. The startling part is that it is only half gone. Double Negative was an ideal location to leave a piece as it is now lost in the debris of fallen stone.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

One of my favorite art encounters of Earthworks Road Trip Volume Two, featured James Turrell's Akhob (Egyptian for "pure water). We were not allowed to photograph it and the first two images below are by Florian Holzherr (via).

Akhob "is a series of rooms designed to cause peripheral and visual disarray through the intensity of 900 color-changing LED lights. With no apparent edges to walls or ceilings, the exhibit eliminates one’s ability to comprehend depth, providing a mystifying sense of infinity."

To view the installation, one must make an appointment with the Louis Vuitton flagship store and arrive on time (they were adamant about the latter). We were escorted into an elevator and deposited into a dark space reminiscent of a hotel lobby. Guides dressed in white introduced the artwork and James Turrell's other projects and then led us around a corner to the room above (far darker in real life). We sat on the bench on the right, removed our shoes and phones, placing them in wicker baskets, and ascended the stairs. The rooms were green when we entered and exited.

As with most of Turrell's artworks, the color slowly changed from warm to cool. In Holzherr's image above, the man is standing in front of a six foot drop and the entry stairs are in the extreme foreground. We stayed long enough to watch the edges of the walls disappear. Although I have never experienced this in person, I thought it could be similar to standing on a ship's prow in the middle of fog and seeing nothing but soft blue light and clouds.

Outside the Vuitton store in the Shops as Crystals, we were able to photograph another Turrell installation which our guide informed us was "broken" (the color stayed the same rather than shifting).

We took the elevators into the installation and even saw ...

... a magenta and purple cast sprinkler head on the ceiling (a small detail reminiscent of the plant growing in the Flavin installation at Chinati).

It was no surprise that swimming pools were high on the Las Vegas agenda. The weather was not as hot as anyone predicted over the course of two weeks and unfortunately, Las Vegas was no exception. Envision the above as a body of water one would jump into quickly and immediately search for warmth on the other side of the rocks. We spent time in all four of the Excalibur swimming pools...

... found our way into two at Luxor ...

... and later that evening, were asked to leave one at Caesar's Palace.

We visited the Neon Museum at dusk (and unlike a handful of inebriated people on the tour, were not dismissed because we could barely stand up straight). A few of the signs were restored while others were illuminated from multicolored lights on the path.

Here were some of my favorite details from the hour long tour.

The final two images remind me of the era my grandfather and his wife visited Las Vegas, sending postcards and the occasional $1 Eisenhower coin. The Strip's history rotates on a regular basis and we learned from the tour guide that the Flamingo will be the next to be demolished. The Neon Museum needs a few more acres to cover all the signs that will be donated in the future. In the meantime, it is one of the best places to see decades of history condensed into a small area.