More Land Art

The revival of interest in Land Art, and the new projects that seem to have emerged from that tradition as it first manifested itself in the early 70s, is pretty interesting. Artforum’s summer issue devotes a fair amount of space to the greater Land art phenomenon.

Land art and subsequent site-specific work therefore share a deep structure. Belonging to a period of unprecedented media expansion (the television era), both sets of practices center on the mutual delimitation of virtuality and presence. In Land art presence is associated with remote territories, while virtuality inheres in mechanically reproduced documentation. In site-specific art, it is the artist as diagnostician or itinerant consultant who signifies presence in materializing a hitherto-virtual discursive site, as when Christian Philipp Müller actualizes an unmarked international border by crossing it on foot (Green Border, 1993) or Andrea Fraser ventriloquizes the entire dramatis personae of the art world while undressing (Official Welcome, 2001). In one set of practices it is the land, and in the other, the body, that serves as the material limit of representation.