Artists and riders aren’t all that different. Through simple hedonism or ascetic quests, they both affirm and reject the bonds of community that sustain them. They search for truth and conveniently leave behind the realities of everyday life. New experiences, new forms. The thistle in the soul pushes us.
In the 1960s, young visionaries rejected the idea that art should live in museums, framed and fraught over by old men in ascots. Art should be liberated from institutional confines, and from traditional canvases as well. Replacing cloth and oil, landscape itself became the medium of artists such as Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, and James Turrell. Their work became known as land art. They used the canvas of the Southwest’s desert to make something of nothing, with dynamite, bulldozers, and tons of rock.