Every fall, Chris Taylor — artist, architect and professor at Texas Tech — takes a group of students on a road trip across the western United States to explore manmade art and landscapes.
Taylor calls it a “semester abroad in our own backyard.”
The project, Land Arts of the American West, attracts students from all over the nation. Some even come from other countries.
All of his students “live on the ground, creating as they go,” said Taylor. The group travels around in a solar bus and set up camp around remarkable or notable locations across the west.
Today, Sept. 13, Taylor and his students will come through Salt Lake City as part of their exploration of the Spiral Jetty at the Great Salt Lake. Taylor will be giving a lecture presentation about his project and his work at 7 p.m. in the Gould Auditorium at the Marriott Library.
Talyor’s students interact with nature in ways that are “inspirational and scary” to broaden their perspectives of human involvement.
Liz, a student on Taylor’s trip and a graduate of NYU, says she really enjoys the project. Coming from a background in art and writing, she is using this experience to expand her portfolio of work for graduate schools.
Matthew, a graduate of St. Mary’s, travels to work on his sculpture art. He decided to attend Taylor’s field course for inspiration on “what [he] can do differently” in his own art.
Taylor’s presentation is part of a larger series of programs These events, broadly titled the ARTLandish series, are put on by the UMFA but held at the Marriott Library while the museum undergoes construction.
Unlike typical museum exhibits, the ARTLandish series presents public programs in the form of lectures, films, discussions and trips. These events are held up to three times a month, having begun in January of this year, according to Whitney Tassie, curator of modern and contemporary art at the UMFA.
Other upcoming programs within the ARTLandish series include a Wikithon at the Marriott on Sept. 15 and a community meet-up at the Spiral Jetty, lecture and musical performance by Guillermo Galindo and a lecture by Trevor Paglen in October.
Taylor’s program “could be very interesting to students” because of its unique style and “holistic view of man’s relationship with the planet,” said Tassie. Art, architecture and environmental studies students would be most suited to Taylor’s lecture but anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
The lecture touches on the fine art implications of landscapes and land art as well as issues of sustainability.