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ArtLex Art Dictionary



eenvironment art- Refers to art which involves the creation or manipulation of a large or enclosed space, many effectively surrounding its audience. Architectural (including landscape architectural) design might be said to qualify as environment art, although the term usually refers to artworks which do not function as either of these kinds of environmental design typically do. Several artists, many associated with American Pop Art like Edward Kienholz (American, 1927-) and Lucas Samaras (Greek-American, 1936-) — created tableaus in the 1960s and 1970s which were called environments. Many earthworks would qualify as environment art too.


Some examples:




see thumbnail to rightWalter De Maria (American, 1935-), The New York Earth Room, 1977, an interior earth sculpture: 250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters), 3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters), 22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters), total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos), Dia Center for the Arts, 141 Wooster Street, New York City.




see thumbnail to leftWalter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977. Isolated in and interacting with the high desert of southwestern New Mexico, the sculpture consists of 400 stainless steel poles situated in a rectangular grid array one mile by one kilometer. A full experience of The Lightning Field depends upon the opportunity to view it alone or with a small group of people over an extended period of time. Dia Center for the Arts, which commissioned and maintains The Lightning Field, schedules overnight visits in advance, limiting groups to six or fewer persons.




see thumbnail to rightWalter De Maria (American, 1935-), The Broken Kilometer, 1979, 500 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The 500 rods are placed in five parallel rows of 100 rods each. The sculpture weighs 18 3/4 tons and would measure 3,280 feet if all the elements were laid end-to-end. Each rod is placed such that the spaces between the rods increase by 5 mm with each consecutive space, from front to back; the first two rods of each row are placed 80 mm apart, the last two rods are placed 580 mm apart. Metal halide stadium lights illuminate the work: width 45 feet, length 125 feet. Dia Center for the Arts, 393 West Broadway in New York City.


see thumbnail to leftGordon Matta-Clark (American, 1943-1978), Splitting: Four Corners, 1974, four building fragments, approximately 57 x 42 x 42 inches (144.8 x 106.7 x 106.7 cm) each, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. With a chainsaw, Matta-Clark made cuts through entire buildings, and called actions "interventions." He referred to the practice of exposing ambiguities within familiar spaces and ways of seeing "anarchitecture." Most of which we can see today only through photographic documentations, although Splitting: Four Corners is an exception to that rule.



see thumbnail to rightLouise Bourgeois (American, born France, 1911-), Articulated Lair, 1986, painted steel, rubber, and metal, overall 9 feet 3 inches x 21 feet 6 inches x 16 feet 1 inches (281.7 x 655.7 x 555.6 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See feminism and feminist art.



Also see conceptual art, entropy, gemütlichkeit, installation, interdisciplinary, measure and measurement, and nature.





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