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Critical Landscapes

Art, Space, Politics

Emily Eliza Scott (Editor), Kirsten J Swenson (Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN: 9780520285491
June 2015
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
From Francis Alÿs and Ursula Biemann to Vivan Sundaram, Allora & Calzadilla, and the Center for Urban Pedagogy, some of the most compelling artists today are engaging with the politics of land use, including the growth of the global economy, climate change, sustainability, Occupy movements, and the privatization of public space. Their work pivots around a set of evolving questions: In what ways is land, formed over the course of geological time, also contemporary and formed by the conditions of the present? How might art contribute to the expansion of spatial and environmental justice? Editors Emily Eliza Scott and Kirsten Swenson bring together a range of international voices and artworks to illuminate this critical mass of practices. One of the first comprehensive treatments of land use in contemporary art, Critical Landscapes skillfully surveys the stakes and concerns of recent land-based practices, outlining the art historical contexts, methodological strategies, and geopolitical phenomena. This cross-disciplinary collection is destined to be an essential reference not only within the fields of art and art history, but also across those of cultural geography, architecture and urban planning, environmental history, and landscape studies.
Emily Eliza Scott and Kirsten Swenson, “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Land Use”

I. Against the Abstraction of Space
1. Julian D. Myers-Szupinska, “After the Production of Space”
2. Trevor Paglen, “Experimental Geography: from Cultural Production to the Production of Space”
3. Sarah Kanouse, “Critical Daytrips: Tourism and Land-based Practice”

Short entries on individual artworks:
4. Ursula Biemann, Sahara Chronicle (2006-9)
5. Kirsten Swenson, on Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains (2002)
6. Amy Balkin, An Archive of Melting and Sinking (2012-)
7. Ruth Erickson, on the Otilith Group, The Radiant (2012)
8. Edgar Arceneaux & Julian Myers-Szupinska, Mirror Travel in the Motor City (2005-)

II. Land Claims: Space and Subjectivity
9. Julia Bryan-Wilson, “Aftermath: Two Queer Artists Respond to Nuclear Spaces”
10. Jeannine Tang, “Look Again: Subjectivity, Sovereignty, and Andrea Geyer’s Spiral Lands
11. Kelly C. Baum, “Earth Keeping, Earth Shaking”

Short entries on individual artworks:
12. Nuit Banai, on Sigalit Landau, DeadSee (2005)
13. Yazan Khalil, What is a Photograph? (2013)
14. Aaron Bobrow-Strain, on Allora & Calzadilla, Land Mark (footprints) (2001-2)
15. Shiloh Krupar, Where Eagles Dare (2013)
16. Nicholas Brown, The Vanishing Indian Repeat Photography Project (2011-)
17. Lorenzo Pezzani, on Decolonizing Architecture, Return to Jaffa (2012)
18. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, The Border Crossed Us (2011)

III. Geographies of Global Capitalism
19. T.J. Demos, “Another World, and Another: Notes on Uneven Geographies”
20. Ashley Dawson, “Documenting Accumulation by Dispossession”

Short entries on individual artworks:
21. Dongsei Kim on Teddy Cruz, The Political Equator (2005-11)
22. Kelly C. Baum, on Santiago Sierra, Sumisión(Submission, formerly Word of Fire) (2006-7)
23. James Nisbet, on Simon Starling, One Ton II (2005)
24. Giulia Paoletti, on George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta (2003-7)
25. Ursula Biemann, Deep Weather (2013)
26. Luke Skrebowski, on Tue Greenfort, Exceeding 2 Degrees (2007)
27. Lize Mogel, Area of Detail (2010)

IV. Urbanization With No Outside
28. Janet Kraynak, “The Land and the Economics of Sustainability”
29. Ying Zhou, “Growing Ecologies of Contemporary Art: Vignettes from Shanghai”

Short entries on individual artworks:
30. Chunghoon Shin, on Flying City, All Things Park (2004)
31. David Pinder, on Nils Norman, The Contemporary Picturesque (2001)
32. Jenna Lloyd and Andrew Burridge, on Laura Kurgan, Million Dollar Blocks (2005)
33. Lize Mogel, on The Center for Urban Pedagogy, What Is Affordable Housing? (2010)
34. Robby Herbst, on Olga Koumoundouros, Notorious Possession (2012)
35. Paul Monty Paret, on eteam, International Airport Montello (2005-8)
36. Saloni Mathur, on Vivan Sundaram, Trash (2005-8)
Emily Eliza Scott is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), and founding member of the art collectives the Los Angeles Urban Rangers and World of Matter. She also served as a National Park Service ranger from 1994 to 2005. She is a contributor to Ends of the Earth: Art of the Land to 1974 and Geohumanities: Art, History, and Text at the Edge of Place, and has published articles in American Art, Art Journal, Cultural Geographies, and Third Text.

Kirsten Swenson is Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She is the author of Irrational Judgments: Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, and the 1960s and has written numerous articles for Art in America, Art Journal, and American Art.
"A welcome addition to any university-level collection on contemporary art."—Art Libraries Society of North America
"The book is a wonderful hybrid, both a collection of essays and a catalog of projects by artists engaged in contemporary land use. Unlike landscape architecture, land use—according to the book’s editors—more directly engages the relationship between environmental and economic structures, not to mention demands for spatial and environmental justice."—Public Books
“This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Scott and Swenson bring together a vast variety of projects from all over the globe, providing a rigorous and sometimes brilliant examination of the social spaces into which artists have been inserting themselves for decades now. Departing from conventional landscapes and documentary approaches, informed by feminism and grassroots and global movements, authors and artists are opening the floodgates to a still broader context for art.” —Lucy R. Lippard, author of Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West

"Scott and Swenson’s trenchant collection of essays will be indispensable for theorists of land use, critical urbanism, and contemporary art. It is itself a monument in the beleaguered landscape of our age." —Caroline A. Jones, Professor of History, Theory, and Criticism, MIT, and editor of Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art

"Though in radically different ways, these authors contest the common treatment of land as neutral or a given—as if all that matters is what happens on top of it. For some the project is to make land visible, and for others it is to capture what is present even if invisible. They move against erasure or the generic. They trace and mark differences." —Saskia Sassen, author of Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

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