Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art
James Crump’s documentary Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art unearths the history of a group of budding artists seeking a canvas larger than those found in their studios.
Land art was a conceptual art movement in the 1960s where artists such as Michael Heizer, Charles Ross and Robert Smithson used dirt and sand to create monolithic structures that left a huge mark on art history. This movement retaliated against the constricting environment of museums and galleries and transcended the limitations of the traditional art form. These weren’t just artists, they were explorers searching for a platform which, they believed, would put an end to galleries.
The documentary combines a mixture of old and new footage alongside resplendent aerial shots of vast, rich deserts that place the audience in the shoes of these prolific earth explorers hunting for their next location. The overhead narration juxtaposes the visual narrative with intelligent and enlightening commentary, which explores not only the history of the art movement but also the personal lives of the artists as well.
Predominantly, the material speaks for itself, representing not only a unique art form but also a nouveau yet familiar platform that artists could manipulate and work with in order to create distinctive, monumental structures. Earthworks are pieces of history engrained into the Earth’s very core and, as Carl Andre eloquently states, “are an older tradition than oil paintings, going back 3,000 years”.
You do not have to be a lover of art to enjoy Troublemakers. It is a film that does not circle entirely around art history but instead touches upon themes of individuality and the necessity for freedom of expression. These pioneering works did not originally have a market, but now transcend the test of time and signify a movement that defied all odds.
Eloquent and engaging, Troublemakers is certainly worth a watch.
Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art is released nationwide on 13th May 2016.
Watch the trailer for Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art here: