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FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2007

Landscape art

December 09, 2007|David L. Ulin

CAN we just say it? Andy Goldsworthy is the coolest artist on the planet. An environmental sculptor, he crafts his pieces from natural materials -- ice, wood, stone, wool -- and designs them to work within particular landscapes, which inevitably change them.

Goldsworthy's latest work is documented in "Enclosure" (Abrams: 192 pp., $60), which features dozens of color photographs as well as journal entries and other notes. The idea was to develop a project for the northern English region of Cumbria, where sheep farming has long been a dominant cultural and economic force. Goldsworthy chose to repair (and, in many cases, rebuild) more than 40 sheepfolds, the stone enclosures in which sheep are kept. He also created a number of ancillary installations using wool, crow feathers, peat and even snow.

What's striking about "Enclosures" is that the art here is not only beautiful but functional as well. "It is a poignant moment," Goldsworthy writes, "when I return to a completed fold and see not only that the site has recovered, but how the work has grown into, and been accepted, by the place."

-- David L. Ulin

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