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Erin Hogan is director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hogan, director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago and a "recovering art historian" with decidedly urban sensibilities, set out on a road trip to visit the most significant works of land art in the American West and to make an experimental "assault" on her fear of solitude. Hogan's journey in her Volkswagen Jetta began with Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty by the Great Salt Lake; in eight more chapters she documents her visits to Michael Heizer's Double Negative in Nevada, Walter De Maria's Lightning Field in New Mexico, failed attempts to find Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels and James Turrell's Roden Crater, along with stops in Moab, Utah; Juarez, Mexico; and Marfa, Tex., "the contemporary art pilgrim's mecca." Hogan's pilgrimage, sparsely illustrated, is part well-informed art historical travelogue and part light foray into self-discovery; her prose is lucid, energetic and expressive, and she is an affable guide. But this narrative does not convincingly convey the depth of her interior journey or the aesthetic insight that Hogan sought to experience. 26 b&w photos, 1 map. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"The reader emerges enlightened and even delighted.... Casually scrutinizing the artistic works... while gamely playing up her fish-out-of-water status, Hogan delivers an ingeniously engaging travelogue-cum-art history." - Atlantic "Smart and unexpectedly hilarious." - Kevin Nance, Chicago Sun-Times "One of the funniest and most entertaining road trips to be published in quite some time." - June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune "Hogan ruminates on how the work affects our sense of time, space, size, and scale. She is at her best when she reexamines the precepts of modernism in the changing light of New Mexico, and shows how the human body is meant to be a participant in these grand constructions." - New Yorker "I was never quite sure what Hogan was looking for when she set out... or indeed whether she found it. But I loved the ride. In Spiral Jetta, an unshamedly honest, slyly uproarious, ever-probing book, art doesn't magically have the power to change lives, but it can, perhaps no less powerfully, change ways of seeing." - Tom Vanderbilt, New York Times Book Review"