art news & reviews & Interviews. jeff bergman, editor

Atlas – 97th – Immersive Art Sites: a list of shame

Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels

This is a list of Capital A Art places and specifically immersive art installations that are site specific. Jori Finkel’s recent piece on the American non-collecting institutions; erstwhile Kunsthalles, inspired this list.  I became fixed on sites that are dedicated to one work of art.  Though I was tempted to call it The Flamethrowers list, a reference to Rachel Kushner’s engaging book of that name which deals with 70’s minimalism and land art, it seemed too limiting.  While most fit the Land Art model, my aim is to find art in which the place and the work meld into something you can become immersed in.  MOCA Los Angeles did yeoman’s work in creating this interactive Land Art map and site.

This roll call of art places (most include extensive pilgrimages) is also a list of shame for me. I used to keep a New York List of Shame, focused on art institutions I have never been to despite my decades living near New York. Some remain and one overlaps with this list (Walter De Maria’s Earth Room, an indoor earthwork).  I have limited this list to the US and Canada.

Immersive Art Sites – a list of shame

Chinati Foundation, Donald JuddMarfa, Texas

Marfa is both the exception and the rule.  Judd’s desert complex became the art mecca, off the beaten path and adjacent to nowhere but maybe El Paso.  I wish to go, and soon to see Judd’s work as well the many other artists that are exhibited at Chinati.

Roden Crater, James TurrellOutside Flagstaff, Arizona

Turrell’s hole in the ground is not open to the public.  There are trips, as fund raisers, for the ongoing installations of phase 2 and 3 of the overall plan for the site.  The first hand accounts I have heard are limited by language.

Spiral Jetty, Robert SmithsonRozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah (DIA)

Spiral jetty is the Mona Lisa of earth works.  It is a romantic ruin, built by a revered man, who became land art’s Icarus when his plane fell from the sky.  DIA looks after it so, for now, it is preserved.

Lightning Field, Walter De Maria  Quemado, NM (DIA) and Earth Room, NYC, NY

Up there with the Spiral Jetty, De Maria’s Lightning Field is the often photographed, rarely visited site.  Though I have seen the Broken Kilometer, I haven’t been to The Earth Room on Wooster Street.  I have no idea why.

Rothko Chapel, Mark Rothko – Houston, Texas

The only true non-earthwork on the list, the Rothko Chapel is a place I have long wanted to visit.  I hope it will in some ways rekindle the feelings I had seeing the Seagram’s Murals at the Tate so many years ago.

Shift, Richard Serra – King City, Ontario

There are probably 20 such sites by Serra, but this one is easily accessible.  It’s barely outside of Toronto and may soon be moved to make way for development!

Sun Tunnels, Nancy Holt – Lucin, Utah

Nancy Holt was many things; a writer, an artist and a historian.  Her marriage to Smithson connected her to the inner circle, but her work was as important as his.  She upheld his legacy and made incredible art as well.


Dia Beacon, Storm King Art Center and Turrell’s Meeting at PS1 (Currently closed for renovations) are all fantastic places to commune with this type of art.  All are easily accessible for New Yorkers.  If any of these are on your list of shame, don’t let them be for long!

I am sure I have missed many so please let me know what else is out there, and I will be sure to update the list!

– Jeff Bergman October 2014


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