cover of book

Playa Works: The Myth Of The Empty
by William L. Fox
University of Nevada Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-87417-523-3 | eISBN: 978-0-87417-551-6
Library of Congress Classification F787.F695 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 979


In eight brilliant essays, Fox explores many of the major playas of the American West , examining locations as diverse as Nellis Air Force Base and Frenchman Flat, where the federal government has tested experimental aircraft and atomic weaponry; the Great Salt Lake Desert, where land-speed records have been broken; and the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada, site of the colorful Burning Man arts festival. He analyzes the geological and climatological conditions that created the playas and the historical role that playas played in the exploration and settlement of the West. And he offers lucid and keenly perceptive discussions of the ways that artists have responded to the playas, from the ancient makers of geoglyphs to the work of contemporary artists who have found inspiration in these enigmatic spaces, including earthworks builder Michael Heizer, photographer Richard Misrach, and painter Michael Moore. The ensemble is a compelling combination of natural history, philosophy, and art criticism, a thoughtful meditation on humankind's aversion to and fascination with the void.

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