Earthworks and Beyond

Contemporary Art in the Landscape

Release Date
Format Paperback 240 pages 8.5 x 11 inches 220 illustrations, 90 in full color
Category Art History
ISBN-13 978-0-78920-881-1 SKU 1042202

4th Edition

Updated and expanded to incorporate the most recent land art projects, Earthworks and Beyond (first published in 1984; 2nd edition, 1989; 3rd edition, 1998) is a perceptive and accessible survey of an influential art movement that developed during the 1960s and is still reshaping both remote and urban landscapes.

This invaluable volume now includes the most recent efforts by artists—often in collaboration with architects and city planners—to transform ravaged landscapes and desolate cityscapes into pleasure-giving parks and artworks. The book begins with an enlightening introduction tracing the historical roots of art in the landscape: Stonehenge, Indian mounds, cliff dwellings, park design from 18th-century England to modern-day golf courses. The opening chapter deals with such innovative artists as Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Walter De Maria, and Christo, who in the 1960s began to free their art from the confines of tradition by constructing monumental sculptures in the environment. The following chapters discuss their predecessors, peers, and successors, including Constantin Brancusi, Herbert Bayer, Richard Long, James Turrell, and many others.

The final four chapters (chapter 7 is entirely new) explore at length the increasing involvement of artists in land reclamation and urban design, featuring projects by Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Mel Chin, Maya Lin, and many others.


This thoughtful volume is very well illustrated and provides a context for understanding the achievements of a highly diverse range of artistic endeavor. . . . Highly recommended. -- Artforum

John Beardsley is a superb guide to this burgeoning and sometimes baffling branch of the art world. . . . His observations have a polished simplicity and he fortifies his narrative with details that have eluded other writers. . . . Beardsley offers the best account of the earthworks movement yet published. -- Landscape Architecture

Indispensable... By the time one reads the last chapter, "The Greening of Sculpture," one sees that the ancient role of artists as technologists and innovators has reopened in the relatively new tradition of earthworks and public sculpture... The complex field of contemporary site-specific sculpture gains clarity with the categories Beardsley outlines... Beardsleys analysis is unpretentious, clear-eyed, and open. -- Rain Taxi Review of Books; Fall, 2006

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