Artland: USA is a hugely enjoyable art road movie, which is as much fun to watch as it was to make. Hosts Charlie Luxton and Mame McCutchin drive a 35-foot RV across the United States. Journeying from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine, they visit artists and museums, architecture and Americana. Shot in HD, the twelve one-hour shows are an entertaining and visually spectacular odyssey to America’s art.
Artland: USA (Series Two) was produced through the summer of 2007
Programme 1: San Diego, California to Las Vegas, Nevada
Highlights of the first leg include visiting the Salk Institute, designed by Louis Kahn, and meeting superstar artist Jason Rhoades in the desert. We visit a sculpture garden by Niki de Saint Phalle; we see modernist houses in Palm Springs; and we meet the world’s oldest chimpanzee, Cheeta, who paints abstract canvases in his spare time.
Programme 2: Las Vegas, Nevada to Marfa, Texas
We drive through the desert from the mighty Hoover Dam, just outside Las Vegas, to the art town of Marfa. Along the way we stop at Michael Heizer’s earthwork Double Negative; we check out “nose art” on airforce planes near Tucson; we hear about the art of Ansel Adams and Tom Lea; and we find a Prada store in the desert (in fact, it’s an art installation).
Programme 3: Marfa, Texas to Denver, Colorado
Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa is simply extraordinary. We see classic Cadillacs buried near Amarillo (the artwork Cadillac Ranch). Santa Fe and Taos are en route, along with paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and the ceramics of Tammy Garcia. The USAF Academy Chapel is visionary architecture, as is Daniel Liebskind’s extension to the Denver Art Museum.
Programme 4: Denver, Colorado to Minneapolis, Minnesota
The great plains offer Carhenge at Alliance, Nebraska (Stonehenge but made from cars) and the world’s largest easel. Photographer Alec Soth makes a photograph and we tour the General Mills Art Collection. Great buildings include the Des Moines Art Center and the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, graced with a new extension by Herzog & de Meuron.
Programme 5: Minneapolis, Minnesota to Chicago, Illinois
St John’s Abbey outside Minneapolis was designed by modernist Marcel Breuer. St Louis’ Memorial Arch is a great feat of engineering, and Richard Serra’s Joe is pretty good too. Michael Eastman shows us how he photographs America’s vanishing buildings, and in Chicago we visit Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and the glorious new Millennium Park.
Programme 6: Chicago, Illinois to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
* The week’s riches include an extraordinary collection of modern architecture in the tiny mid-west town of Columbus, Indiana, and the world’s largest ball of paint. We meet artist Ann Hamilton and Andy Warhol’s brother in Pittsburgh. Plus we visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s stunning Fallingwater house and see Diego Rivera’s masterful murals in Detroit.
Programme 7: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Shelter Island, New York
We make a side trip to Canada to look at Toronto’s new architecture. But first we meet painting elephant Surapa in Buffalo Zoo. We visit two of the great new contemporary art spaces: MassMOCA in North Adams and Dia Beacon. We go to Jackson Pollock’s studio in East Hampton, and we drop in on the eminent sculptor John Chamberlain.
Programme 8: Boston, Massachusetts to Vinalhaven, Maine
The last week begins in Boston with some stunning architecture on the MIT campus and with the nearby Museum of Bad Art. We encounter the Shakers and smart public art both in the libraries of Portland, Maine and in the public transit system of Montreal. And finally we take a chopper across to the tiny island of Vinalhaven to meet artist Robert Indiana.