1st Edition

Patricia Johanson and the Re-Invention of Public Environmental Art, 1958-2010

By Xin Wu Copyright 2013
    334 Pages
    by Routledge

    334 Pages
    by Routledge

    Impeccably researched and richly detailed, this book addresses the issue of translation between visual arts and landscape design in the 50 more years career of Patricia Johanson, an important artist in the second half of the twentieth-century. Examining the artist’s search for an "art of the real" as a member of the post-World War II New York art world, and how such pursuit has led her from painting and sculpture to public garden and environmental art, Xin Wu argues for the significance of the process of art creation, challenging the centrality of art objects. This book is an insightful study to confront a crucial question in the history of art through the work of a contemporary artist. It therefore converses with art historians and critics alike, as well as advanced readers of twentieth-century art. Following Johanson's artistic development, from its formation in the 1960s American art scene to the very present day, across the fields of art, architecture, garden, civil engineering and environmental aesthetics, it investigates the process of creation in a transdisciplinary perspective, and reveals a view of art as a domain of exploration of key issues for the contemporary world. The artist's concept of nature is highlighted, and particular impacts of Chinese aesthetics and thought unveiled. Based on extensive analysis of unpublished private archives, Xin Wu offers us the first ever comprehensive scholarly interpretation of Patricia Johanson's oeuvre, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, garden proposals, and built and unbuilt projects in the United States, Brazil, Kenya, and Korea.

    Contents: Introduction; Transformation: from painting to sculpture, 1958-1968; The invention of form: House & Garden commission, 1969; Translating the order of nature; Garden metamorphoses, 1975-1985; Functionality into public place; ’The garden of art’ in garden-cities; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


    Xin Wu is Assistant Professor of Art History at the College of William & Mary, and author of the two-volume monograph Patricia Johanson’s House & Garden Commission: Reconstruction of Modernity (2008) as well as books and articles on the history of representation of nature in China.

    '... a meaningful contribution to the artist’s oeuvre that provides insight into her creative impact on public environmental art. This work would make a great addition to academic libraries that collect materials related to garden history, earthworks, or Johanson’s work as an artist.' ARLIS/NA Reviews

    '... a welcome and timely addition to the literature of landscape design.' Studio International

    'Xin Wu’s recent study of Johanson explores the artist’s work as negotiating between these multiple fields as well as meriting consideration within art historical chronologies. For Wu, Johanson’s art constitutes a new-and relevant-form of contemporary public art practice.' Journal of American Culture