Richard Long

Two Sheepdogs Cross In and Out of the Passing Shadows: The Clouds Drift Over the Hills With a Storm (1971)

Richard Long’s art is made from walking. From early in his career and up to the present day, Long has created his art by performing solo treks, on foot, across all corners of the globe. Because of the solitary and ephemeral nature of this work, which often occurs in remote and inaccessible territories, Long has devised several strategies for communicating his art to a wide audience. These strategies include creating sculptures with rocks, sticks, and/or footprints along the path of the walk, photographing his sculptures and the scenery of the walk, producing maps and poem-like descriptions of the walk, and, lastly, publishing books about his walks. 

Two Sheepdogs . . . combines photographs of the landscape Long encountered on a walk with texts animating the geological features depicted in the photographs. Like many other artists in the 1960s and 1970s, Long found photography and bookmaking to be effective means to communicate his impermanent and performative art to audiences across temporal and geographical boundaries. However, in Long’s conception of his work, the book does not serve merely as a document confirming that the walk took place.  Rather, the book is a viable artwork in its own right and makes the walk tangible in a manner commensurate with a sculpture, text, or map.  

Bibliographic References:

Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, exh. cat. Ed. Claire Wallis. (London: Tate, 2009)

Anne Rorimer. New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001)

Essay by John Michael Morein '13


Land Art / Earthworks
Richard Long