The List:

To roll, to crease, to fold, to store, to bend, to shorten, to twist,

to dapple, to crumple, to shave, to tear, to chip, to split, to cut,

to sever, to drop, to remove, to simplify, to differ, to disarrange,

to open, to mix, to splash, to knot, to spell, to droop, to flow,

to curve, to lift, to inlay, to impress, to fire, to flood, to smear,

to rotate, to swirl, to support, to hook, to suspend, to spread,

to hang, to collect –

of tension, of gravity, of entropy, of nature, of grouping,

of layering, of felting –

to grasp, to tighten, to bundle, to heap, to gather, to scatter,

to arrange, to repair, to discard, to pair, to distribute, to surfeit,

to complement, to enclose, to surround, to encircle, to hide,

to cover, to wrap, to dig, to tie, to bind, to weave, to join,

to match to laminate, to bond, to hinge, to mark, to expand,

to dilute, to light, to modulate, to distill –

of waves, of electromagnetism, of inertia, of ionization,

of polarization, of refraction, of simultaneity, of tides, of reflection,

of equilibrium, of symmetry, of friction –

to stretch, to bounce, to ease, to spray, to systematize,

to refer, to force –

of mapping, of location, of context, of time, of carbonization –

to continue.

The “Verb list” established a logic whereby the process that constituted a sculpture remains transparent. Anyone can reconstruct the process of the making by viewing the residue.

The sculptures resulting from the “Verb list” introduced two aspects of time: the condensed time of their making and the durational time of their viewing.

Both tasks and materials were ordinary. I was tearing lead in place, lifting rubber in place, rolling and propping lead sheets, and melting lead and splashing it against the juncture between wall and floor. The activities were experimental and playful. It wasn’t the question of how to accomplish this or that, nor was it the question of making it up as I went along: it was rather a free-floating combination of both.

I cannot overemphasize the need for play, for in play you don’t extract yourself from your activity. In order to invent I felt it necessary to make art a practice of affirmative play or conceptual experimentation. The ambiguity of play and its transitional character provides suspension of belief whereby a shift in direction is possible when faced with a complexity that you don’t understand. Free from skepticism, play relinquishes control. Play allows one to accept discontinuities and continuities; it also allows one to happen upon solutions or invent them. However, even in play the task must be carried out with conviction. It’s how we do what we do that confers meaning on what we have done.

b6b46091bd255cca12de0715ea943f5f-2 tumblr_m3nrdoOxW61rpri2zo2_1280Richard-Serra-Tilted-Arc-4  tilted-arc Richard Serra, Tilted Arc (1981-1989)


Martha Schwartz, Jacob Javits Federal Building Plaza (1997-2011)


Michael Van Valkenburgh, Jacob Javits Federal Building Plaza (2013)




Landscape designers may see themselves as agents of mitigation and mediation, but are we really just opportunists?

(…) Should landscape architects have more scruples than others? Landscape architects are no more holy than any other people and should neither place themselves nor be placed in a holier-than-thou position. Saying that, I believe that we should be operating in a way that helps the earth – and all who inhabit it – in any way we can, and to give something back so we leave this world a better place than when we entered it. But I believe this to be true for everyone. However, the topic of the environment is very wide and broad, and there are many, many ways to contribute to this topic, from the heroic site-specific art pieces done by the ‘earthworks artists’ of the 1960s (such as Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Michael Heizer and Walter De Maria), to ecological research, to devoting oneself to saving the snail-darter. These are all within the purview of ‘landscape’ and all make contributions. In a field as broad as landscape architecture, it is important that we must recognize that there are equally broad ways of making contributions, and that one way is not necessarily superior to another.

I am definitely an opportunist: I am always looking for opportunities to do something interesting. Given that the landscape is a much more complex, larger and more expensive canvas than most studio art, I must depend on others to supply my ‘canvas’.

Martha Schwartz, Designer, client and user (2005)





Despite their common interest in landscape, artists, writers, planners, landscape architects, and geographers can never share the same definition of the term, nor will they always reach a full agreement within their own domain. Landscape serves a different purpose for each group, and each profession or discipline is unique in terms of its focus, objectives, scales of analysis, epistemologies, and methodologies. Nevertheless, each would benefit immensely from understanding the others’ conception of landscape.

Eugene J. Palka, Coming to grips with the concept of landscape (1995)