Troublemakers – Documentary

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Notes, Project 1: The Shape of Time, Research & Reflection

When researching Smithson and his Spiral Jetty, I stumbled across ‘Troublemakers’ the 2020 documentary about the land art movement.

From the start, the title intrigued me. I had an idea as to why they were labelled troublemakers from the reading I had done about the anti-establishment principles the movement was based on, but I wanted to find out more.


  • The Land Art movement was s group in the mid 1960s who used land as both the subject and the material
  • The works remain impressive even today
  • Everyone at that time was an explorer and there was a hunt for as bigger canvas
  • There was also a desire to end galleries and dealers and the influence they had, to give the voice back to the artist
  • There was a mixed reaction with some even labelling it Satanic and Violent
  • The idea was to be able to experience art
  • Links to the time – Vietnam War
  • Munich depression by Michael Heizer was one of the first
  • The era of space travel had an influence as we saw Earth in a new perspective
  • As did aerial views in general
  • Duchamp’s work was all aerial
  • The USA was the prime country for this to happen due to the space available out West
  • Was the movement anti-gallery? Or was it a need for space?
  • It alsmost created a new type of religion where people had to make pilgrimages out to see the works
  • However, artists still used galleries as meeting points, to make connections and exchange ideas
  • To people like Smithson, the idea was often more important than the doing
  • Smithson originally tried to find land in New Jersey but nowhere was suitable
  • Instead, the Earthworks show was born
  • Earthworks took its name from a sci-fi book, but the show was literally art using dirt. It gave the movement the massive publicity it needed
  • Walter De Maria filled the entire room with dirt
  • The art is linked to ecological concerns
  • Heizer’s double negative links to time as you see sirectly the layers that are in the cut outs through time
  • Also has themes of process and labour too