This grant was made to endow a chair for the area of study called Land Arts of the American West. Land Arts is a studio-based, field study program dedicated to the investigation of land arts from pre-contact Native American to contemporary Euro-American cultures. The program seeks to expand upon connections between typically separate fields. Students learn from the fact that Donald Judd surrounded himself with both contemporary sculpture and Navajo rugs; that Chaco Canyon and Roden Crater function as celestial instruments; and that the Very Large Array is a scientific research center with a powerful aesthetic presence on the land.
Fourteen students led by two faculty, spend a semester living and working in the southwestern landscape with guest scholars and artists in disciplines including archeology, art history, architecture, ceramics, criticism, writing, design, and studio art. In Land Arts students become cognizant of human interventions in their region across time and cultures. Occupying the land for weeks at a time, living as a nomadic group and working directly in the environment, students navigate issues of culture, site, community, and self. They develop skills of perception and analysis unattainable in a standard classroom setting.
This course is a collaboration between Studio Art at the University of New Mexico and Design at the University of Texas at Austin.