Located in a loft at 141 Wooster Street, in one of Manhattan’s busiest neighborhoods, “The Earth Room” by artist Walter De Maria sits there since the 1980’s. This is an interior installation consisting of 250 cubic yards of earth, measuring 22 inches deep. A 3,600 square feet of floor space filled with nothing but dark earth. Once you enter the room, you are instantly greeted by a rich smell of soil and dense humidity in the air.
The room is quiet as the bright New York City lights pour through the big windows, revealing a new territory, entirely different from the one outside. De Maria’s “Earth Room” is an unusual way to think about the territories we inhabit. In one moment we find ourselves in the middle of Manhattan’s chaos, the very next minute everything turns quiet, warm and simple. It is a direct manipulation of an immediate territory: to bring the environment to the arts, instead of bringing art to an environment. His work is a drastic transformation of a specific territory, pushing us to consider the spaces we occupy.
Images: installation of the first Earth Room, 1968 via artblogcologne.com