PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity October 2023 Dallas

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T h he Nasher Sculpture Center is the latest museum to shine a light on a group of artists previously marginalized by art history simply due to their gender. Hopefully you caught "Women Painting Women" at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2022 and "Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art" at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2020. Now the Nasher's "Groundswell: Women of Land Art" (through January 7, 2024) focuses on female pioneers of the largely American movement known as Earth (or Land) Art. These artists formulated site-specific installations, forms, and sculptures using stones, water, gravel, and soil — pretty much anything found in nature. The movement, an outgrowth of Conceptualism and Minimalism of the late 1960s, resulted in minimal ornamentation and often monumental proportions. For years, only such projects by male artists have made it into art history textbooks. A prime example is Robert Smithson's seminal work Spiral Jetty (1970) — a 1,500-foot- long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil adjacent to the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah that's constructed from earth and basalt rocks. Its massive size and location have made it a pilgrimage site for art lovers. You might also know the work of Walter de Maria or Michael Heizer. The latter is perhaps best known for City, a gargantuan complex that he began in the early 1970s in the Nevada desert. The ongoing work is supported by the Dia Art Foundation and other granting organizations; guests have only recently been allowed to visit. The intensive research conducted by the curator of "Groundswell," Dr. Leigh Arnold, to unearth the work of the women in the Nasher's exhibition reminds me of a quote by Margaret Lee Runbeck, a champion of women's rights during the first half of the 20th century: "Learning is always rebellion … Every bit of truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before." The idea for "Groundswell" was sparked while Arnold was working on the show "Smithson in Texas" at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2014. Happening upon the work of Nancy Holt, Arnold wondered why she wasn't mentioned as frequently as Smithson. Arnold's research uncovered other female artists whose work — "in spite of the challenges that these women faced," she says — was often more powerful than their male counterparts' from the 1970s and '80s. "Groundswell" showcases 12 American © LITA ALBUQUERQUE. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND KOHN GALLERY, LOS ANGELES. (Continued) Groundbreaking By Billy Fong Lita Albuquerque's Spine of the Earth, 1980, El Mirage Lake, Mojave Desert, California 96

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