University of St Andrews: Walking Art

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Introduction to Walking Art 11 week course:

“Walking as a method of appreciating landscape is a natural part of our sensory experience — everybody does it or has done it. But it first became an artistic pursuit during the Romantic tradition of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Turner, Constable, Wordsworth and pioneers of landscape preservation such as John Muir contributed towards the alteration of its status. Artists’ relationships with the act of walking developed in an unhurried way until the beginning of the twentieth century. After the Second World War, painters such as John Piper and Paul Nash began producing ‘mind landscapes’ that were inspired by walking and traveling in new and unusual places. In these, the moods and emotions of the artists themselves were projected on to the landscape in a way that was to become influential upon later practitioners of ‘walking art.’ In the nineteen sixties, walking itself became the subject matter and medium of a form known as ‘land art’ — although some artists, such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, have sought to disassociate themselves from this art historical pigeonhole. This course seeks to investigate the beginnings of walking as an art form and will then proceed to trace its development during the twentieth and twenty first centuries, exploring its assimilation into the current phenomenon of land art.

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