Profs and Pints presents: "New American Desert Art," with Joshua Shannon, associate professor of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Maryland, director of the Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity, and author of The Recording Machine: Art and Fact during the Cold War.
Amazing works of art that previously bloomed in Nevada's Black Rock Desert have now popped up on Washington DC's streets and inside the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, thanks to the gallery's exhibit "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man." Profs and Pints is pleased to host a talk for those curious about the pieces and the aesthetic from which they sprang.
Joshua Shannon, a specialist in the history and theory of art since 1945, will explore the preoccupation with America's deserts that arose in artists about 1968. He'll discuss the desert's meanings as a place of both apocalypse and utopia, as well as its relationships with atomic-bomb research, the space program, and the popularity of Westerns.
Above all, Professor Shannon's talk will examine the artists' collective fantasy that the desert could provide a landscape reassuringly devoid of everything but pure facts.
He will discuss not just works made for Burning Man, but the creations of Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, and Vija Celmins. He'll draw loosely from to the second chapter of his new book, The Recording Machine: Art and Fact during the Cold War (Yale University Press, 2017), and he'll have signed copies available for sale. (Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door.)