LA MOCA’s current exhibition, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974, is the first attempt by a museum to thematically organize and display Land Art, a movement closely associated with Robert Smithson in which the physical landscape becomes the artistic medium. The exhibit turns Land Art’s site-specificity on its head, featuring work by Smithson, Richard Serra, and Christo and Jeanne-Claude that has been installed in places as widespread as the UK, Japan, Israel, Iceland, Europe, and both North and South America. Most pieces on view are photography or film documenting artist’s manipulation of the landscape. Smithson’s renowned Spiral Jetty, for instance, is included in the show in the form of a film and text by the artist.
Serra’s famed words from his controversial Tilted Arc fiasco, “To remove the work is to destroy the work,” come to mind, questioning the extent to which museums can interact with Land Art. In its experimental exhibition, MOCA offers one solution.
Ends of the Earth is on view at Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles through September 3.