Touch the Earth - History | A Natural State
The nature-based art form blends natural materials, manmade construction and landscape into mysterious expressions of our relationship to the earth. The Serpent Mound in Ohio attributed to the Adena Indians (ca. 800 BC - AD 100) is one of the oldest and most well preserved nature-based "earthworks" in the United States. The Nazca Lines of the Nazca Indians (ca. 300 BC to AD 900) of Peru and Stonehenge (ca. 3100 BC - 2000 BC) in England are other examples of ancient earthworks that connect the nature-based art form across millennia.
Interest in earthworks and the nature-based art form reemerged in 1970 with Robert Smithson's monumental Spiral Jetty. To create the earthwork, a construction crew deposited and arranged 6,550 tons of earth and black basalt rocks into a spiral formation that extends from the shore the Great Salt Lake into its reddish water. Most recently the work of Andrew Goldsworthy, the subject of the award-winning documentary Rivers and Tides (2001), brought attention to nature-based and ephemeral art forms.