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Public lecture by Nicholas Alfrey on Land Art at UCC
On 13 November 2014, Prof Nicholas Alfrey (Nottingham) delivered a lecture entitled Land art in Britain: Nancy Holt and Richard Long in the West Country for History of Art.
This talk explored what happens when a radical art practice is conducted in a rural location. The work made by Nancy Holt and Richard Long in the British landscape in the late 1960s and early 1970s may be seen as part of the history of Land art, but Land art in Britain occupies some fairly ambiguous territory. It was presented in the wider context of conceptual art, for example, yet some critics took it to be a continuation of the Romantic tradition. And while new artistic practices such as walking challenged conventional ideas about what a work of art might be, the relationship between walking as art and walking as a recreational activity was not altogether clear cut. The work by Holt and Long considered here enables us to compare the approach to the West Country landscape by a visitor and an insider, and perhaps to unsettle some of the usual distinctions made between American and British land artists.
Nicholas Alfrey is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Nottingham. His research is focused upon the visual culture of landscape since 1800, and he was the curator of the 2004 Tate Britain show, Art of the Garden, as well as the recent touring exhibition, Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain, 1966-1979.