When it comes to Land Art, you have to be there. How else to fully appreciate Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Running Fence, Michael Heizer’s Circular Surface Planar Displacement Drawing, or Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels? There’s only one other way.
The Italian photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni, who died in 2019, translated the magic and majesty of this 20th-century art movement to images that are impressive in their own right. Gorgoni got to the heart of their vision, be it the sprawling works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whom the photographer met in the mid-70s in the stairway of his building, or the towering ones of Ugo Rondinone, who writes in the first career-spanning catalogue of Gorgoni’s work, “I have trusted him as much as I have ever trusted anyone.” Others did, too. Gorgoni often helped the artists whose work he photographed plot a piece in its location.
Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs publishes next week in conjunction with an exhibition of more than 50 of Gorgoni’s large-scale images, on now at the Nevada Museum of Art. —Julia Vitale