Sunday, September 13, 2009

Untitled 1969-2009

"This major work, Untitled 1969/2009, takes the form of skywriting that will say, with Nauman's classic mischievous humor, 'Leave the Land Alone.'"

I read that publicity phrase before yesterday's art installation but didn't understand it. How is "leave the land alone" funny or mischievous, let alone classy?

But I went to the La Loma Bridge to watch yesterday, because I wondered if there might be something more to this piece by artist Bruce Nauman. There was and there wasn't. By the time I left, the planes had written in the sky four times, "LEAVE THE LAND ALONE." The crowd on the bridge loved it, I think.

I wasn't disappointed but I might have been, had it not been for the Armory Center for the Arts. The project was initiated by Andrew Berardini, Adjunct Assistant Curator, and organized by Director of Gallery Programs Jay Belloli and Gallery Programs Manager Sinead Finnerty-Pyne. I assume it's thanks to these people that there happened to be, on the bridge, a very pleasant woman with printed information about the artwork.

This information explained that Nauman was directing his phrase at his contemporaries in the movement known as Land Art or Earth Art, questioning the artist's intervention with landscape.




Cagey, doing that from the sky.


Turquoise Diaries said...

Sometimes these art installations are rather strange, but I like your photo..

Shell Sherree said...

I've never seen pointillistic skywriting before... very neat! For a moment, I wondered if it was Zen Monday.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Aysegul. And I agree. Sometimes art will at least make me think, but if not for the printed material I could have chosen not to think twice about this one. For me it wasn't a "stand-alone" piece. Like Paris or Istanbul, the more you know about it the more you enjoy it. But this piece isn't as beautiful as Paris or Istanbul!

Well there you go, Shell, it was pointillistic all right, and done with absolute precision. Everyone on the bridge remarked that it had to have been done by computer.

altadenahiker said...


Petrea said...

Ha ha ha!

Vanda said...

As land art goes, I've long been intrigued by the Spiral Jetty.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Oh, untitled??
Hmmmmm..., you've had us looking up & getting dizzy the last 2 days, P. Ok, let's go for the logical choice:

"Looking Up: the Sequel."

Bellis said...

I walked to the Colorado Street Bridge expecting something amazing, but it was just computerized sky writing, the kind that's often used around here to promote movies. If I'd known the back story, I'd have appreciated it more. From the bridge, the words floated above the still-burning mountains as though they were telling the firefighters to leave them alone. No, please don't do that! Or maybe, as Larry Wilson suggests, they were a message to the arsonist. Yes! Leave our land alone, you evil person.

Margaret said...

So it's not an environmental thing?

Becky said...

Wow, I've just been introduced to three or four concepts I didn't know I didn't know. Lovely AND educational today!

Petrea said...

Yeah, Spiral Jetty's cool. I think a lot of Land Art is gorgeous and fascinating. I'm not sure I could say that about this work, but I suppose it's witty (if extravagant). And Larry Wilson is right--it's timely, though Nauman couldn't have anticipated the Station Fire.

Margaret, I think that's part of the supposed wittiness--an environmentalist statement as well. Meanings upon meanings, so to speak.

Oh I don't know, what do I know? Art is subjective. When it's finally shown in public the artist's intention becomes less important than its effect on the viewer. Whatever it means to you is what it means.

Tash said...

Great shot of the skywriting! He should of written "Leave the trees alone".

Tash said...

The old ones on the streets of Pasadena, that is.