One of the most noteworthy responses to the monumental Land Art interventions came at the same time as their production. Beginning in 1968, the artist Judy Chicago embarked on a series of ephemeral Atmospheres performances using colored smokes and fireworks in the deserts of the American West that were intended to “soften that macho Land Art scene,” as she puts it. Long overlooked by art historians and scholars, Chicago’s Atmospheres series provides a critical counterpoint and essential context to the predominantly male Land Artists working in the desert during the 1960s and 70s. It is for this very reason that the Nevada Museum of Art began working with Chicago in 2018 to secure the acquisition of her entire fireworks archive for the Center for Art + Environment archive collection. This exhibition debuts the archive publicly for the first time, and features never-before-seen vintage photographs and 16 mm films, ephemera such as correspondence and permits, press coverage, related clothing, as well as large-scale photographs documenting the history of Chicago’s Atmospheres performances from 1968 to the present.
Barbara and Tad Danz