The Photographer Who Chronicled the Monumental and Ephemeral Land Art Movement

Land Art Story

For the Winter 2022 issue of Fine Books magazine, I explored the legacy of photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni who captured many of the most significant Land Art works in the United States. The story is timed with a retrospective of his work at the Nevada Museum of Art:

50 years after Smithson completed the Spiral Jetty, Gorgoni’s photographs have helped define a work that is too remote for most to have seen, especially when it was underwater for 30 years. They also chronicled its creation, reminding viewers that although the curve of the Spiral Jetty appears like an ancient glyph, it was the result of trial and error by one of the New York artists in the 1960s and ‘70s who were bold enough to reshape the earth into their visions. Despite the importance of Gorgoni’s photography to Land Art—which perhaps more than any other visual art relies on photography to convey it to viewers—his legacy has not gotten much attention in histories of the movement.

Read the full story in the Winter 2022 print issue of Fine Books.