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What is Land Art?

New to Land Art? Find out all about it here.

Land Art, or Earth Art, developed out of the conceptual art movement of the 1960s and 70s. Land Art typically uses natural materials and is designed to be in harmony with its location, making the works essentially ‘site-specific’. Works often exist well away from areas of civilisation and are usually ephemeral in nature and left to erode naturally and comment on humanity’s relationship to the environment.

The artist Richard Smithson was a founder member of the land art movement, helping to redefine the language of sculpture with his works in the 60s and 70s which provided a radical departure from formal objects in gallery settings.

One of his most famous works is Spiral Jetty 1970 Great Salt Lake, Utah.


Houghton Hall has a world class collection of art in its grounds.

These include works by:
Steven Cox
James Turrell
Phillip King
Anya Gallaccio
Jeppe Hein
Rachel Whiteread
Zhan Wang

Click individual artist names to go to their websites, or click here to go through to Houghton Hall page featuring their specific pieces. Come back with your family and visit them all!


Artists in Schools
Working with an artist in school can support increased engagement and participation in the whole curriculum, as well as broadening and deepening understanding of the arts themselves and of the artistic process.

If you would like your school to work with a local artist and create your own Land Art, try contacting one of these experienced practitioners:
Karl Foster         07789 418903
Kate Munro       07968 323668
Liz McGowan     07789 897891


Next Steps/Useful links

Land Art has links with:
It is only recently that nature has been the sole subject of a work of art.

Previously it would have serve as the backdrop or setting to other subjects. Since the 19th century, driven by increasing urbanisation and industrialisation and perhaps the notion too that nature was a direct manifestation of God, landscape has been a major theme in art and our relationship to nature and the environment has been studied and expressed in an increasing variety or media


Conceptual art
Sometimes simply called conceptualism, is art in which the concepts or ideas involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns.


Contemporary art
The term is loosely used to refer to art of the present day and of the relatively recent past, and of an innovatory or avant-garde nature.


Abstract art
Abstract art is that which does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.


Map of ideas
Click here to see where Land Art fits within a wider context


Famous Land Artists
Andy Goldsworthy
Richard Long
Richard Smithson
Michael Heizer
Dennis Oppenheim
Walter de Maria