This semester, we have the pleasure to have Dr. Emily Eliza Scott with us as the second Métamatic Visiting Professor.
Emily Eliza Scott is an interdisciplinary scholar and artist whose work focuses on the creative-critical interpretation of contemporary landscapes. In 2010, she completed a PhD in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Wasteland: American Landscapes in/and 1960s Art,” examines early land-based art in relation to the actual spaces and spatial politics it engaged, pursuing how and why degraded environments served as fertile grounds for artistic experimentation in this period. Parallel to her studies, she cofounded the Los Angeles Urban Rangers, an art collective that develops guided hikes, campfire talks, field kits, and other interpretive tools to spark creative explorations of everyday habitats in their home megalopolis and beyond.
On March 20, Dr. Emily Scott kicked off her time here with an introductory lecture: Group Pioneering: Robert Smithson and Circle’s Early Forays to the Field (c. 1967). Beginning in 1966, American artist Robert Smithson and a circle of his friends set out on a series of speculative field excursions to the outskirts of New York City, driven in part by their growing desire to create large-scale artworks on the actual land. In her talk, Emily Scott highlighted the collaborative nature of such endeavors, giving special attention to the crucial involvement of Nancy Holt (then Nancy Smithson), his wife, and the eminent gallerist Virginia Dwan. For, while Smithson was indeed a primary instigator, he produced much of his work in the field with fellow travelers, amid rich conversation and a shared sense of adventure. One of Scott’s motivations in unearthing these grainy, now-historical events is to mobilize the methodological dilemmas they pose to art history as usual.
Starting this week, Dr. Emily Scott will be teaching the seminar Art-Media-Sites in the 1960s to interested MA- and 3rd year BA-students. Jean Tinguely’s anomalously early desert artwork, Study for an End of the World No. 2 (1962), provides a lucid aperture onto two technologies that emerged in the decades following World War II and profoundly impacted the period: the atomic bomb (representing the potential end to all technology) and television (representing the potential translation of all into spectacle). His Nevada “study” addressed both simultaneously, critically mimicking atomic tests and their mass mediation on television. By way of key texts, artworks, and films from the 1960s, this seminar will explore artists’ increasing attention to site at the same moment when media such as television were radically refiguring space and spatial experience.
top: Stone Ruin Tour II led by Nancy Holt, Cedar Grove/Little Falls, New Jersey, USA, 6 January 1968. Participants included Robert Smithson, Allan Kaprow and his family, and Claes and Pat Oldenburg.
bottom: Jean Dry Lake, Nevada, the scene for Jean Tinguely’s Study for an End of the World No. 2 (1962).