Friday, February 19, 2010

Earthworks and their Pre-Columbian Influences: The Nasca Lines

by Willy Blackmore

Long before Robert Smithson built his Spiral Jetty out into the Great Salt Lake, the geoglyphs in the high Peruvian dessert, known as the Lines of Nasca, have existed as monumental works of art that make the very earth their medium. Just as the cubists and other avant garde movements of the early 20th century looked to “primitive” art to inform their practice, the leading artists of the earthworks/land art movement of the 1970s were inspired by these ancient geometric shapes and simple massive-form line drawings. Works such as Walter De Maria’s Mile Long Drawing seem to almost directly reference these pre-Colombian relics. The monumental lines etched in the desert have long mystified and fascinated visitors, giving rise to theories of alien influence and many other ideas about their source.

On Sunday, February, 21, the National Geographic Channel premiered a documentary, Nasca Lines: Buried Secrets, from Edge West Productions, directed by celebrated British documentarian Philip J. Day. The documentary focuses on new evidence that reveals details about the civilization responsible for the lines, and features impressive aerial photography, taking the camera high enough in the sky to appreciate the grace and beauty these epic lines command.

For more info about the documentary visit Edge West Productions
and National Geographic.