Jane McFadden’s Walter De Maria: Meaningless Work (University of Chicago Press, 2016) engages critically with the work of Walter De Maria, an artist whose important work The Lightning Field is well known, but whose other practices—including music, drawing, photography, film, and sculpture—have been largely invisible within the history of art. For De Maria, questions of experience and meaning in art included the role of the artist himself, and he consistently avoided participating in interpretation of his work. In an age of artist writers, critics, and theorists, De Maria was silent. McFadden’s book attends to the complexities of his art without transgressing these choices, and considers how De Maria’s work reflected and responded to the social upheavals of the 1960s.

Jane McFadden is an historian of contemporary art whose work focuses on art of the 1960s and 1970s. She is interested in how questions of site for art in that period relate to broader concerns about the place of art within the social realm. These interests reflect the multifaceted nature of her own life as a writer about art, informed by her roles as scholar, teacher, feminist, and environmentalist. Her work has appeared in Grey RoomArt JournalModern Painters, and X-TRA, as well as in catalogues for the J. Paul Getty Museum and for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (forthcoming). She is associate professor of art and design history at Art Center College of Design.