(023) Ship September 1975
James Smith Pierce purchased a 17-acre plot of land east of the the Kennebec River in Clinton, Maine. He spent the next 15 years crafting 20 distinct pieces of land art on what was called Pratt Farm, or, as Pierce called it, a “garden of history.” His work on Pratt Farm spanned millennia by blending earthworks with local and foreign history.
The images in this collection document the progress and completion of the Ship, a land-art construction inspired by Bronze Age Scandinavian burials. Pierce used found stones to form the outline of the ship and flowers later bloomed in its center, forming a burial encompassed by nature.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.
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