Wilderness, Incorporation, and Earthquakes: Christo, Jeanne-Claude, Niki de St. Phalle and the Embodied California Landscape
AuthorWarner, John-Michael Howell
AdvisorMoore, Sarah J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractChristo and Jeanne-Claude’s Running Fence, begun 1972 and installed in 1976, and Niki de St. Phalle’s Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, dedicated 2003, in northern and southern California respectively, reexamine the ways landscape art historically shaped ideological constructs, lived experience, and cultural economics. Christo, Jeanne-Claude, and St. Phalle draw on well known representations of the frontier and American West from the nineteenth century including, antebellum landscapes such as Thomas Cole’s The Oxbow, 1836 and Emmanuel Leutze’s Westward the Course of Empire, 1862 as well as Reconstruction Era landscapes including Andrew Russell’s The Golden Spike, 1869 and John Gast’s American Progress, 1872. When Christo, Jeanne-Claude, and St. Phalle’s West Coast art are viewed together, questions about history and tradition, the relationship of economics to cultural production, and aesthetics informed by place and environment, emerge as salient. Through the artists’ interest in time, place, and environment, as well as sustained engagement with community, Running Fence and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle construct representations of the local and interpret the histories and cultures of Sonoma and Marin Counties and Escondido. Running Fence and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle critically engage with artistic convention, state construction, capitalism and cultural production, and the construction of race, gender, and sexuality. As art historian William Truettner explained historical representations of the western frontier as “national pictures,” so too Running Fence and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle reinterpret historical images of the American West through an emphasis on community and place rather than nation-building and nationalism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Art History and Education