Nevada Museum of Art Acquires CLU Archives

The Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment (CA+E) announces the recent acquisition of the complete and ongoing records of the Wendover Residency Program run by the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles. The archive represents more than 10 years of art making sponsored by CLUI, an institute dedicated to the exploration and understanding of land and landscape issues in North America. CLUI produces exhibitions, publications and lectures, and since 1997 has run a renowned residency program for artists in Wendover, Utah.

CLUI facilities at Wendover, Utah

“This acquisition is a significant addition to the current CA+E Archive collection,” commented William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment. “The CA+E is designed to be a global leader in studying how people construct creative responses to natural, built, and virtual environments and aims to collect notable archives from across the globe. The CLUI archive provides a core sample of the working practices of artists engaged at the intersections of art and geography, art and environment, and desert regions. The Museum is thrilled to have developed such a relationship and will continue to collect the archives and create an exhibition and possible publication from them.”

The announcement of the acquisition was made at the recent CA+E Advisors meeting held in Reno, Nevada and organized to develop the planning and programming for the second Art + Environment Conference, taking place September 30 through October 2, 2011.

“We are very pleased that the material from our Residence Program will be part of the CA+E Archive collection,” said Matt Coolidge, Director of CLUI. “The CA+E Archives are emerging as an innovative and pioneering accretion of materials about art and landscape that will be a great resource to researchers of the future. We are honored to have our program be considered among the other important materials archived by the CA+E.”

The CLUI Wendover archive caps the first year of archive collecting by the CA+E, which in 2009 acquired twenty other archives from six continents. The CA+E Archive now includes materials relating to projects by more than 200 artists, including Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Lita Albuquerque, Australians Richard Black and John Reid, and the records of the Guandu Outdoor Sculpture Festival in Taiwan, among others. The sponsorship of this acquisition was provided by the Jon Ben Snow Memorial Trust.

The CLUI Archives
Wendover, a small town on the Nevada-Utah border and the site of the largest military base in the world during WW II, is bisected by Interstate-80 and railroad tracks, criss-crossed by telephone wires and fiber optic cables, and adjacent to both salt-mining operations and the Bonneville Salt Flats. The area has been occupied by Native Americans for more than 10,000 years and in the 19th century the Emigrant Trail was located nearby. Coolidge describes it as one of the most vivid sites of “anthrogeomorphology” in the country – a place where human beings have almost completely transformed what some people at first perceive as an “empty desert” into an industrial artifact.

Conceived of as a venue in which artists and researchers can explore and create work arising from this unique desert environment, the Wendover residency program has hosted more than 100 artists from around the world since 1997. Residents primarily work out of the CLUI facilities at Wendover, interpreting the local and regional landscape, including the Great Salt Lake and its desert.

Residency projects have included photography by artists such as Victoria Sambunaris and Mark Ruwedel, architecture by Simparch, installations by Catherine Harris and Achim Mohne, publications by Charles Hood and Mark Klett, and videos by Tori Arpad and Lucy Raven. The sculptures created there have included the wind-powered autonomous rovers built in 1997 by Jennifer Odem and John Reid, and a number of temporary interventions in the surrounding landscape. The Wendover facility has also hosted numerous classes, such as the Land Arts of the American West programs from both the University of New Mexico and Texas Tech University.