The United States often prides itself on its wide-open vistas and endless expanses. From sprawling suburbs to massive expressways, we're a nation without geographic constraint. But while some see dusty badlands as places to pass through or fly over, some artists envision these areas as massive canvases.
Beginning in the '60s, in a simultaneous embrace of natural and environmental concerns and a rejection of what they saw as an increasingly commercialized art world, many traded in paintbrushes for earth-moving equipment. Constructing huge earthen shapes and reworking the environment, they created artwork that erodes.
Ironically, many precedents for the wider Land Art movement can be traced back to New York City, from Isamu Noguchi's 1933 Contoured Playground (an early antecedent) to Alan Sonfist (creator of Time Landscape, a recreation of native forest on Manhattan) to the 1968 Earthworks show at New York's Dwan Gallery, which featured many of the artists who would come to define the movement, such as Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria and Michael Heizer. Here's a look at some of the nation's largest and more remote public artworks.