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Bo and Betsy’s Road Trip


– Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake, Utah
– Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
– Wounded Knee, South Dakota
– Lightening Fields, New Mexico
– Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
– New Orleans, Louisiana
– Gees Bend, Alabama
– Selma, Alabama
– Doo-Nanny, Seale, Alabama
– Cumberland Island, Georgia
– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
– Whitney Museum, New York, New York
– Norman Rockwell Museum and Studio, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
– Winslow Homer Studio, Prouts Neck, Maine
– Two Lights Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
– Olsen House, Cushing Maine
– Wheaton Island, Maine


Monumental Land Art


Land Art, also called Earth Art, Environmental Art or Earthworks, is primarily a sculptural movement encompassing creative work that integrates physical or conceptual elements of the landscape into the finished piece. The most famous of these are often known as much for their monumental scale as for the intrinsic qualities of the artwork itself.

The fact that nearly all of the first wave of artists achieving notoriety in the form were male, and worked in a manner that was both invasive and transformative, gave the movement a reputation for having a core of testosterone driven ego.

Land Art’s most articulate spokesman was Robert Smithson, whose Spiral Jetty has become emblematic of the genre. While other artists accused him of promoting himself more than the movement, his lucid definition of the conceptual basis for the work provided an appealing face and voice to a new art form.

Listed below are links to satellite and topographic imagery of the best known large earthworks, both old and new, still extant in the continental United States, as well as a few significant smaller scale pieces. The images provide a sense of comparative scale; the topographic views provide a sense of the terrain; and the geophysical coordinates provide a sense of their proximal relationship.


Most Significant Monumental Scale Works

1970 – Double Negative – Michael Heizer
1970 – Spiral Jetty – Robert Smithson
1977 – Lightning Field – Walter de Maria
1985 – Effigy Tumuli – Michael Heizer
20?? – Star Axis (incomplete, begun 1976) – Charles Ross
20?? – Roden Crater (incomplete, begun 1972) – James Turrell
20?? – City (incomplete, begun 1970?) – Michael Heizer

Other Significant Works

1973 – Amarillo Ramp – Robert Smithson (built posthumously)
1974 – Cadillac Ranch – The Ant Farm
1976 – Sun Tunnels – Nancy Holt
1977 – Stone Field Sculpture – Carl Andre
1982 – Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks – Herbert Bayer
1988 – South Cove – Mary Miss
2008* – PIEQF – D V Rogers


double_negative Double Negative – Michael Heizer
N36°36.925 W114°20.666 (11 737491E 4055494N) alt: 576m

Two aligned cuts on the edge of Mormon Mesa, near Overton, Nevada. Thirty feet wide and fifty feet deep, joined by the negative space between them for a total length of 1500 feet. While other large-scale earthworks had previously been created, some by Heizer himself, this was the first of the physically monumental Land Art projects


spiral_jetty Spiral Jetty – Robert Smithson
N41°26.288 W112°40.042 (12 360702E 4588737N) alt: 1279m

A jetty arm of fill dirt and rock extends into the Great Salt Lake where it curls into a tight circular spiral. Built when the lake was unusually low, it has only been above water level a few times since it was built.


lightning_field Lightning Field – Walter de Maria
N34°30.773 W108°06.447 (12 765546E 3822823N) alt: 2196m

In the remote high desert of western New Mexico, northeast of the small town of Quemado, are four hundred pointed, vertical steel poles arrayed in a 25 by 16 grid, one mile long by one kilometer wide. The sculpture was designed to be viewed over an extended period of time, across changing weather and light. One of the best known and most uniformly praised Land Art examples.

Google now has high resolution images of this area. Not only can the cabin be seen, but the walking path tracing the perimeter of the artwork is also clearly visible!


effigy_tumuli Effigy Tumuli – Michael Heizer
N41°19.459 W88°55.091 (16 339468E 4576535N) alt: 198m

Five animal forms built on reclaimed land in the Illinois river. The forms echo ancient mounds indigenous to the region and are large enough to be mostly unrecognizable when viewed from ground level.


star_axis Star Axis – Charles Ross
N35°15.862, W105°05.217 (13E 492090 3902362N) alt: 1786m

This naked-eye observatory, a kind of modern Stonehenge, is designed to illustrate the 26,000 year precession of the Earth on its axis as represented by the location and path of Polaris, the Pole star, through different eras. Other portions of the structure illustrate the movement of stars in an hour and the position of the sun at the equinox and solstices. The site is still under construction and closed to the general public. Although tours are rare–two were held in 2013–requests can be made through the official website.


roden_crater Roden Crater – James Turrell
N35°25.521 W111°15.537 (12 476493E 3920245N) alt: 1635m

Since 1972, James Turrell has carved passages, rooms and observatories within an extinct volcano twenty-five miles northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. Turrell’s oeuvre is concerned with the effects and variations of light. As the project is nearing completion, an official site has emerged containing pictures of the incredible spaces within.


city City – Michael Heizer
N38°01.904 W115°26.167 (11 637250E 4210490N) alt: 1829m

Slowly approaching its completion after more than thirty years, Michael Heizer’s enourmous masterwork evokes Modernist architectures filtered through the pre-Columbian structures he visited in his youth with his father, anthropologist Dr. Robert Heizer. While Heizer’s health problems have hampered his ability to work on this piece, his passion for it seems to burn just as hot and inspire those around him to bring it to conclusion. Destined by its evocative form and sheer size to be one of the crowning achievements of the Land Art movement.

Do NOT attempt to visit this site without prior permission.


amarillo_ramp Amarillo Ramp – Robert Smithson (built posthumously)
N35°22.510 W102°01.795 (13 769822E 3918699N) alt: 975m

One of many works (such as the Cadillac Ranch) commissioned by Stanley Marsh, a wealthy Amarillo land owner and art patron. Smithson, as well as a pilot and a photographer, died in a 1972 plane crash while surveying this site. The project was completed from his notes and drawings by his widow, Nancy Holt, with the help of Richard Serra and others.


cadillac_ranch Cadillac Ranch (Old Site, 1974 – 1996; New Site, 1996 – present) – The Ant Far
Original location- N35°11.107 W101°56.984 (14 231411E 3897558N) alt: 1138m
Current location- N35°11.233 W101°59.225 (14 228005E 3897894N) alt: 1150m

In 1974, the Ant Farm collaborative art group was commissioned by Stanley Marsh, a wealthy Texas land owner, to create something interesting for his property. The resulting piece both honors and lampoons the materialistic car culture of the fifties and its love affair with the tail fin. Each Cadillac body style from 1949 to 1963 is represented in chronological order, half buried nose-first in this field on the western outskirts of Amarillo..


sun_tunnels Sun Tunnels – Nancy Holt
N41°18.210 W113°51.826 (12 260248E 4576406N) alt: 1341m

Five miles southeast of Lucin, four large, recumbent concrete cylinders line up by pairs to view the Summer and Winter solstices. Holes through the upper surface allow sunlight to project simulated constellations into the cylinders.
Sun Tunnels was featured on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2011/12/22 with a link back to this page (thanks APOD!).


stone_field Stone Field Sculpture – Carl Andre
N41°45.864 W72°40.463 (18 693316E 4626232N) alt: 175m

A progressive arrangement of boulders from the Hartford, CT area. Each rank of the arrangement contains more, smaller stones. The geological nature of the rocks proportionally reflects their distribution within the region. Although critically appreciated, this sculpture continues to draw public ridicule, as it did when it was first installed.


mill_creek_canyon Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks – Herbert Bayer
N47°22.570 W122°12.870 (10 559298E 5247267N) alt: 90m

Concentric earthen mounds and terraces highlight this land reclaimation project in the suburban Seattle area.

south_coveSouth Cove – Mary Miss
N40°42.417 W74°01.123 (18 582892E 4506690N) alt: 3m

This construction, on the west side of Battery Park in New York City, creates a pastoral, interactive transition zone between the water of the Hudson River and the city’s urban landscapes.


pieqf PIEQF* – D V Rogers
N35°53.974 W120°26.012 (10 7316277E 3975852N) alt: 465m

Seismic Earthwork, Temporary Installation
“Parkfield Interventional EQ Fieldwork (PIEQF) is a geologically interactive, kinetic earthwork that has been installed in the township of Parkfield, Central California. This machine controlled earthwork is triggered by near real-time reported Californian earthquakes from Magnitude M 0.1 and above.”
(quoted by permission from the artist’s website)

*Technically, this artwork is outside the scope of the page because it was a temporary installation and now, like Christo’s environmental pieces, only exists in documentation. But I’m intrigued with the way this piece twists the notion of Earth art and think it deserves some recognition. This ‘changing the rules whenever I want to’ is the nice part of having my own website.


Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios


101 Spring Street

The New York City home and studio of artist Donald Judd (1928-1994).


Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

This former Mediterranean-style home and studio of internationally known sculptor, Albin Polasek (1879–1965), features his life-like busts and grand sculptures in several rooms as well as the broad gardens that slope down to Lake Osceola.


Alice Austen House

Alice Austen (1866-1952), who is ranked among the foremost early American women documentary photographers, was born and lived in her family’s “Clear Comfort” home for 80 years.


Bush-Holley Historic Site

This National Historic Landmark features the c. 1730 Bush-Holley House, home of the first art colony in Connecticut, where American Impressionists including John Henry Twachtman (1853–1902), J.
Alden Weir (1852–1919), Theodore Robinson (1852–1896), Childe Hassam (1859–1935) and Elmer MacRae (1875–1953) gathered to paint and share ideas.


C.M. Russell Museum

The C.M. Russell Museum complex includes western painter Charles Russell’s 1900 Victorian home and the log studio he built next to it in 1903. Both the home and studio, on their original sites, are registered historic landmarks and are open to the public.


Cedar Grove, The Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Thomas Cole (1801-1848) is the founder of the Hudson River School and his Federal style brick home “Cedar Grove” is where many of his best known masterpieces were created.


Charles Demuth House & Garden Museum

The Messencope house was the primary residence of the artist Charles Demuth (1883-1935), a leader of the American Modernist movement.



Daniel Chester French was a leading turn-of-the-century sculptor. His studio, Chesterwood, nestled in Stockbridge, MA, provided a retreat from New York’s urban life. A National Trust Historic Site.


E.I. Couse Historic Home and Studio

The home and studio of Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936) survives with his furnishings, collections, archives, and several of the Native American paintings for which he became famous. The site also includes two studios of Joseph Henry Sharp, Couse’s neighbor and colleague in the Taos Society of Artists.


Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio

A major 19th-century artist, Edward V. Valentine (1838-1930) was one of the most talented Southern sculptors of the post-Civil War period.


Elisabet Ney Museum

In 1892, celebrated European sculptress Elisabet Ney (1833-1907) built this small neoclassical studio in the remote natural setting of Hyde Park, Austin, Texas. A national, state and local historic landmark, the studio is one of only five 19th-century sculptors’ studios in the country open to the public.


Florence Griswold Museum

Between 1899 and the 1920s, the Florence Griswold House was the communal heart of the Lyme Art Colony. Now home to the Florence Griswold Museum, it includes an impressive collection of American paintings.


Fonthill Museum

Completed in 1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930), archaeologist, collector, and tile maker.


Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio

The Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio is a Bauhaus-inspired Modernist structure. The design of the 1929 studio was influenced by that of the Paris studio where George L.K. Morris studied under Fernand Léger.


Gari Melchers Home and Studio

The 18th-century Belmont estate was the home and studio of prominent portraitist and American Impressionist painter Gari Melchers (1860-1932).


Georgia O’Keeffe House and Studio

This outstanding home and studio of Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), famous for her paintings of abstract flowers and natural objects found in the desert, is open by appointment through the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House

The Grace Hudson Museum is an art, history, and anthropology museum focusing on the lifeworks of artist Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937) and her ethnologist husband, Dr. John W. Hudson (1857-1936). In addition to being nationally recognized for her oil portraits of Native Americans, Hudson was also an accomplished watercolorist and landscape painter.


Grant Wood Studio

Grant Wood lived and worked in this small carriage house from approximately 1924-1934, where he created many of his most famous paintings, including American Gothic (1930).


Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has one of the most important displays of 20th-century decorative arts in America, with an emphasis on the first three quarters of the 20th century. The studio of Colorado’s distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981), where he painted and taught at the Kirkland School of Art, remains intact with his painting tables, brushes, dowels and remaining paints. Kirkland’s historic Arts & Crafts style studio (1910-1911), is the oldest commercial art building in Denver and the second oldest in Colorado. A modernist Colorado collection of more than 150 artists is also on view.


Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center

Manitoga is the modern home, studio and 75-acre forest garden of pre-eminent American industrial designer Russel Wright (1904 – 1976). Developed between 1942 and 1976, Manitoga provides a comprehensive experience of Wright’s enduring vision of the unity of nature and design. The House, called “Dragon Rock,” sits on the ledge of an abandoned quarry, where Wright diverted a stream to create a 30-foot waterfall cascading into the quarry pond. Wright was a prolific designer of affordable objects for the home. His modernist designs for living influenced the lives of millions of 20th century Americans. Cornerstones of his creative philosophy include designing through experimentation with new materials, the combination of natural and synthetic materials, and the concept that good design is for everyone. Manitoga is a National Historic Landmark.


N.C. Wyeth House and Studio

The house, studio, barn, open fields, orchard, and woodland of N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) nourished three generations of American artists, including Andrew, Henriette, and James B. Wyeth, whose heritage is firmly rooted in this site.


Newsday Center for Dove/Torr Studies

The Dove/Torr Cottage was the home of Arthur Dove (1880-1946) and Helen Torr (1886-1967).


Olana State Historic Site

Olana, the home created by Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church (1826–1900), is one of the most complete, intact 19th-century artist’s residences in the United States.


Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

This is the former home and studio of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), and Lee Krasner (1908-1984), two of the foremost Abstract Expressionist painters.


Roger Brown Study Collection

A 1889 two-story brick storefront building became the primary studio and residence of Roger Brown, one of the Chicago Imagists who was known for the critical relationship between his collection of art and objects and his artistic practice.


Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

This 150-acre National Park Service site consists of the home, gardens, and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), one of America’s foremost sculptors.


Sam Maloof Historic Residence and Woodworking Studio

Acknowledged as one of the finest woodworkers and master craftsmen of our time, Sam Maloof (1916-2009) has designed and produced furniture infused with a profound artistic vision for more than half a century. Over the years, he created a home of unique beauty and artistry that is a setting for his furniture and for the extensive art collections he gathered with his wife.


T.C. Steele State Historic Site

The T.C. Steele State Historic Site includes the last home and studio of Indiana artist Theodore Clement Steele (1847-1926), a member of the noted Hoosier Group of American Impressionist painters.
Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site
The home and studio of renowned painter, sculptor, lecturer, and writer, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) remains virtually untouched since his death.


Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site

The home and studio of renowned painter, sculptor, lecturer, and writer, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) remains virtually untouched since his death.


Weir Farm National Historic Site

Perhaps the finest remaining landscape of American Impressionism, Weir Farm was the summer home and workplace of J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), a leading figure in American art and the development of American Impressionism.


Wharton Esherick Studio

The home and studio of Wharton Esherick (1887-1970), one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century, linking the Arts and Crafts movement to the Studio Furniture movement.


Winslow Homer Studio
Winslow Homer spent his final decades living and working in this rustic structure where he created powerful images of crashing surf and humankind’s struggles against the elements.




Links for Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios are from and the list of Land Art / Earthworks are from Don Seeley/Daring Designs, ©2011. Reproduction permitted when this source is credited.