It is odd that while the list of things we consider “art” has grown to include a shovel (Duchamp), Brillo boxes (Warhol) and a shark (Hirst), the art-viewing formula has changed so little: liberal-arts graduate visits white room. “There should be more interesting and challenging contemporary artwork in people’s day-to-day experiences,” says Shamim Momin, a onetime Whitney Museum curator who cofounded the Los Angeles Nomadic Division public arts initiative (nomadicdivision.org) three years ago. “We consider LAND a museum without walls.”
October marks the launch of LAND’s billboard-mounted art exhibition along Interstate 10, beginning with ten works in and around Jacksonville, Florida, and progressing steadily westward with the sequential installations of ten chapters by ten artists. Artist Eve Fowler will build libraries in gas stations and truck stops on the outer limits of Houston to complement billboards displaying quotations from Gertrude Stein. Zoe Crosher, the photographer who initiated the exhibition, will populate the Mojave Desert’s most arid and desolate regions with enormous images of a lush, Eden-like garden.
By spring 2015, the project—titled “Manifest Destiny,” after the concept of America’s self-justified western expansion—will total 100 billboard artworks and stretch from Jacksonville to Los Angeles. If it succeeds, it will make art consumption not just easy and fast but also suspenseful, keeping truckers, road-trippers, elopers, gamblers and aspiring actors on the lookout for the next conceptual-art installation to cruise past at 70 miles per hour.