At the Lightning Field

Laura Raicovich. Coffee House, $12.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-56689-466-1
By turns critical and lyric, this essay concerning sculptor Walter de Maria’s The Lightning Field gives readers a rare entry into an experience of the singular work of land art, and into the essential nature of experience and memory. Raicovich, the director of Queens Museum and author of A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties, made several visits to The Lightning Field, which consists of 400 steel poles located in an isolated, mile-long field in New Mexico. She combines her intimate, studied observations with the writings of a vast array of mathematicians and thinkers, including Benoit Mandelbrot and Gertrude Stein. Attempting to answer the question “How reliable is memory?,” the essay is a beautifully chaotic map of thought and experience that both mirrors the experience of a work of art and probes its essence. The vivid language renders a landscape lush with “brown eyes of pooled rainwater,” where “each pole appeared to bear a tiny flame against the sky.” Raicovich’s sharp, almost scientific concessions to confusion and disorder make the essay, like de Maria’s work, a fiercely poignant treatise in which “concentration is more easily achieved, revealing the remarkable.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 04/11/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 104 pages - 978-1-56689-475-3
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