It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings, or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks, towers, fumes, and colored lights. This drive was a revealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was artificial, and yet it couldnʼt be called a work of art. On the other hand, it did something for me that art had never done. At first I didnʼt know what it was, but its effect was to liberate me from many of the views I had had about art. It seemed that there had been a reality there that had not had any expression in art . . . I thought to myself, it ought to be clear that's the end of art. - Tony Smith, sculptor, on driving through the Meadowlands on the then unfinished New Jersey Turnpike in the 1950's.
Editors Note: On the Horizon
This is our largest issue yet, not because we are getting increasingly verbose (though that may be), but to make up for the fact that it is coming out later than we had hoped (which is something we now have come to expect). Some of the themes that run through a number of the stories in this issue are about international lands in the United States, and about how we see America seeing itself, in a general way, as expressed on the ground, at least. There is a report on an internationally significant part of the country, the Houston Ship Channel, especially linked to current events in two ways, by being about oil, and about Texas. You will find reports from the Center’s offices in the Great Basin, Northeast, and from the Mojave Desert. And because our main office is located there, and because it is an amazingly interesting place, you will find articles about Los Angeles, a city we continue to examine through projects that look at the city’s infrastructure, and impact on a wider scale, through its industries such as defense and entertainment, still two of the Nation's largest exports. Currently on view at the CLUI’s Los Angeles Exhibit Hall is an exhibit about emergency training architecture in Southern California, discussed in this newsletter. This form of stylized, representational building is a combination of set-building and disaster preparedness, another reflection of these times. Los Angeles, like it or not, is increasingly everyone’s city. - Lay of the Land Editors