Walter De Maria: Meaningless Work

Walter De Maria: Meaningless Work
Library Shelf Location 18.DEMA
Publication Date 2016

As one of the most innovative artists of the last six decades, Walter De Maria challenged the very possibilities of art. He is known worldwide for his important sculptures, most famously The Lightning Field, but his profound contribution to the practices of music, drawing, photography and film has been largely forgotten within the history of contemporary art. Featuring in-depth analysis of many previously unknown works and correspondence, Walter De Maria: Meaningless Work is the first major critical account of his broad range of work.

In a 1960 score, Walter De Maria called for ‘meaningless work’: art that does not ‘accomplish a conventional purpose’. At stake was whether art could maintain its relevance in the face of an array of cultural and social possibility. This led to a dizzying period of experimentation for De Maria – from happenings to rock ’n’ roll, through the deserts of the world, into television and outer space, and against the limiting configurations of the art press. The resulting work reflected shifts in how we understand the sites of art, and also place, during an era of moon shots and road trips, of wars that moved from jungles to living rooms via electromagnetic waves, and of race, gender and sexuality vying for space in the social realm. In bringing to light De Maria’s lesser-known works, this book challenges established histories and methodologies for art of the 1960s and ’70s, while also explaining De Maria’s own abiding interest in the possibilities of art.

ISBN 9781780236674
Quantity 1
Pages 240
Author Jane McFadden
Format Hardback
Publisher Reaktion Books Ltd, London
Related Artist Walter De Maria
Categories Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team), Public/Landscape Art
Language English

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