Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Art History


Tom Wolf

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In downtown Manhattan, a recreated patch of New York City’s pre-colonial forest is located a few blocks away from a second-floor loft filled with 280,000 pounds of dirt. My project puts these two urban earthworks in contrast, with Alan Sonfist’s 1978 Time Landscape seen as a time warp while Walter De Maria’s 1977 New York Earth Room is looked at as a time capsule. Both artworks were developed during a period when the nation’s environmental consciousness was growing, and both continue to exist as public works into our ecologically attuned present. Sonfist’s curbside forest was planned as a verdant touchstone for the city to reconnect with its botanical past, a goal that arguably has not been reached as the overgrown plot fades into its surroundings. De Maria never put forth a message that explicitly connected his Earth Room with any environmental or land-centered cause, yet many visitors have adopted the space as a natural refuge in an unnatural setting.

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