Land is multivalent; it can conjure geological associations as much as signify real estate. It pivots as a metaphor for sovereignty, ethnic centers, and cosmological origins. It can be a territorial claim as much as gesture toward histories of dispossession. Yet the term “land art,” and its associations with early architects of the movement from the 1960s and 70s, seems to fall short of contemporary artists’ complex engagements with land and its many connotations. This is especially true for women and people of color, as land takes on altogether different cultural, political and religious valences. Tierra will be a blog devoted solely to writing about land as a subject, medium, and site of intervention within international contemporary art. It will unpack how land figures into contemporary artistic practice, considering it as constitutive of intercultural encounter, racial formation, environmental ethos, and historiographical inquiry.
Alicia Inez Guzmán is a writer, critic and editor based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds a BAFA from the University of New Mexico and a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, New York. She has published in Afterimage, Modern Painter, THE, View, Pastelegram, Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of Visual Culture, and Daily Serving, among other publications, and has won awards from the Susan B. Anthony Institute in Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Latin American Iberian Institute. She was a pre-doctoral fellow in American Modernism at the Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center. Her writing draws on her own experiences and affinities with land as a mestiza woman living in the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico, while also examining the political, cultural and social stakes that multiple demographics have within borderland spaces.