Daring, outsized, and literally groundbreaking, artworks such as Robert Smithsons Spiral Jetty, Michael Heizers City, Walter De Marias Desert Cross, Christo and Jeanne-Claudes Running Fence, and Nancy Holts Sun Tunnels have captured the imaginations of people around the world. They have done so, in large part, through the photographs of Gianfranco Gorgoni (1941-2019), who was in the field with the artists while their works were in progress.
Now the Nevada Museum of Art
is drawing on its uniquely deep and extensive holdings of Gorgonis work to present the exhibition Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs, featuring more than fifty of his stunning, large-format images of now-iconic works of Land Art. Organized by Ann M. Wolfe, the Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director of the Museum, the exhibition is on view at the Museum from June 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022. In tandem with the exhibition, the Museum and Monacelli are publishing the book Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs. The large-format, 256-page hardcover book, edited by Ann M. Wolfe, features 150 color and black-and-white images and includes essays by William L. Fox, the Peter E. Pool Director of the Center for Art + Environment, and the late Germano Celant, former curator of the Guggenheim, New York and the Fondazione Prada in Milan. Celant and Gorgoni were longtime friends and colleagues before their untimely passing just before the completion of this project.
In 1969, after meeting legendary New York gallerist Leo Castelli, Gorgoni was invited to travel to the desert, where he began his career of working side-by-side with major figures of the then-incipient Land Art movement. In 2016 he was chosen as the official photographer for Ugo Rondinones monumental work Seven Magic Mountains, co-produced by the Nevada Museum of Art and the Art Production Fund. Upon his death, Gorgoni bequeathed hundreds of contact sheets of his Land Art photographs to the Center for Art + Environment of the Nevada Museum of Art. The Museum also owns a full set of Gorgonis large-scale Land Art prints, acquired for its Altered Landscape, Carol Franc Buck Collection, the only full set authorized by the artist before his passing.
David B. Walker, CEO of the Nevada Museum of Art, said, Someone once called Gianfranco Gorgoni a roadie, stuntman, and documentarian rolled into one. He was also a visionary artist in his own right and a close friend of the Nevada Museum of Art. We are tremendously proud to be the institution that presents the first comprehensive exhibition of his Land Art photographs and are deeply grateful to the generous supporters, including the Carol Franc Buck Foundation, who have made this possible.
Ann M. Wolfe said, Gorgoni used his camera to inventory the creation of some of the most iconic artistic interventionsboth ephemeral and monumentalthat would come to be known around the world as Land Art. Collectively, Gorgonis images have shaped global perspectives on contemporary art practice around the world, and his oeuvre continues to offer a stunning visual definition of first-generation Land Art in the American West.
Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs is one of five exhibitions the Museum is presenting in its 2021 Art + Environment Season, Land Art: Past, Present, Futures. The season also encompasses 12 virtual discussions and talks by 23 distinguished speakers (September 23 through November 19) and an outdoor transformance by Rose B. Simpson, to be presented in Las Vegas. Subscriptions to the season include the option to receive Season in a Box, a commemorative package that includes the book Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs and the comprehensive 2019 Monacelli book Michael Heizer: The Once and Future Monuments by William L. Fox.