Troublemakers (72’, 2015) retraces the origins of Land art between the late 1960’s and the beginning of the 1970’s, documenting the creative research of artists such as Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson, who transcended the limitations of traditional painting and sculpture in order to intervene on lakes and deserts, mountains and plains and the vast landscapes of the American southwest. Their earthworks, monumental installations and large-scale interventions, altered the natural surroundings around them by repositioning tons of soil and rocks or by inserting metallic elements in large areas of land.
Through rare footage, new aerial views on their most iconic works in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah and interviews with artists such as Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Dennis Oppenheim, Charles Ross, Robert Smithson and Lawrence Weiner, direct witnesses to their artistic efforts such as Germano Celant, Paula Cooper, Virginia Dwan, Gianfranco Gorgoni, Pamela Sharp, Willoughby Sharp and Harald Szeemann, the film aims to highlight the rebellious, heroic and iconoclastic character of these pioneers who challenged the artistic conventions of their times.
James Crump, who directed the 2007 documentary Black White + Graywhich focused on the relationship between curator and collector Sam Wagstaff and artist Robert Mapplethorpe, states: “The story needed to be told now, with the express intention of retrieving the spirit of Land art, with the rebels who created the works that defined it. It is important to me that a new generation of much younger artists rediscover these troublemakers in order to fully realize that making art is not simply for the market and that celebrity or net worth are a rather inadequate justification for a career in the visual arts.”
- Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, 1976. From Troublemakers. © Holt Smithson Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York.
- Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970. From Troublemakers. Photograph © David Maisel. Art © Holt Smithson Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Courtesy Institute, Venice, CA.
- Walter De Maria, Hamburg, Germany, 1968. From Troublemakers. Photograph © Angelika Platen.