Forget purple mountains and fruited plains. The contemporary American landscape is more typically composed of parking lots and shopping malls, factory towns and industrial developments, argues Matthew Coolidge, founder and director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles.
Later this month, Coolidge will host a series of events investigating St. Louis' urban landscape.
The visit — co-sponsored by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University — comes as part of "Unsettled Ground: Nature, Landscape, and Ecology Now!" a yearlong series of lectures, panel discussions, artistic interventions and workshops exploring the intersection of contemporary architecture, art, ecology and urban design.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, Coolidge will lecture on "Interpreting Anthropogeomorphology: Programs and Projects of the Center for Land Use Interpretation." ("Anthropogeomorphology," a phrase Coolidge coined, refers to the landscape as altered by humans.)
The talk is free and open to the public and takes place in the Sam Fox School's Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, located near the intersection of Forsyth and Skinker boulevards.
On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27 and 28, Coolidge and Washington University students will examine a variety of "unusual and exemplary" St. Louis sites through a series of workshops collectively titled "Looking for St. Louis." On Saturday, Oct. 29, workshop participants will in turn lead additional volunteers over "routes" established by Coolidge.
Events conclude from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday with a special, one-night-only exhibition, also titled "Looking for St. Louis," at the Sam Fox School's Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Ave. The exhibition will include images, texts, artifacts and diagrams drawn from the workshops.
For more information, call (314) 935-9347 or email email@example.com.
WHO: Matthew Coolidge, founder and director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles
WHAT: Lecture, "Interpreting Anthropogeomorphology: Programs and Projects of the Center for Land Use Interpretation"
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26
WHERE: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, intersection of Forsyth and Skinker boulevards
INFORMATION: (314) 935-9347 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Land Use Interpretation
According to ArtForum magazine, "CLUI has emerged as the most astute of many creative groups around the United States currently engaging contemporary issues related to land and its uses, both functional and aesthetic."
Founded in 1994, the non-profit organization presents a wide range of public programming — from books and exhibitions to lectures and multimedia bus tours — designed to increase awareness of how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized and perceived.
Coolidge serves as a project director, photographer and curator for CLUI exhibitions, and has written several books published by the CLUI, including Back to the Bay: An Examination of the Shoreline of the San Francisco Bay Region (2001), and The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to America's Nuclear Proving Ground (1996).
Coolidge lectures widely in the United States and Europe and is a faculty member in the Curatorial Practice Program at the California College of the Arts. In 2004, he received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
"Unsettled Ground" is co-financed by funds given to Washington University for collaborative, interdisciplinary programming between the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.