pumping art from the energy state of Wyoming, USA


Image Gallery 2016   •   Image Gallery 2015

Image Gallery 2014   •   Updates

This is Pipeline Art Project's ongoing land art collaboration. Artists JB Bond, David K. Klaren and Sue Sommers have worked with staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sublette County Weed and Pest to inscribe a power button in a private pasture near Daniel, Wyoming. The first two growing seasons saw crops of wildflowers illuminate the shape, proposing our western landscape as a source of power.

The location's panoramic setting is the same one used by Alfred Jacob Miller in his famous painting, Rendezvous Near Green River - Oregon, 1837 (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Everett D. Graff Collection #4912).

The artists feel privileged and proud to live near the headwaters of the Green River, a landscape that has invigorated American painting for almost 200 years and brought acclaim to Miller, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and many others. Yet the area is remote and little-known to outsiders.

Pipeline Art Project believes that rural Wyoming, with its energy-based economy, is ripe for contemporary art that engages the rest of the nation in a conversation about energy sources, development, and use. Wyomingites are not alone in their dependence on fossil fuels and the energy marketplace. But we are uniquely positioned to initiate an informed, multi-layered, and diverse conversation.

Contemporary Wyoming artists can speak to contemporary Wyoming issues that expand into world issues. That's power.

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January 2017: Toward a public PowerSwitch - In the coming months we anticipate meetings with local 4H and University of Wyoming Extension personnel to discuss a possible PowerSwitch with public access, to serve as a possible native-plant garden with hands-on teaching opportunities.

2016: Disappointments - This proved a difficult year. Most of 2016 was spent carefully crafting a partnership between the Pinedale Fine Arts Council, Pipeline Art Project, government agencies, and industry. With support from local BLM and a major production company, the plan was to install a PowerSwitch on the Pinedale Anticline Gas Field. The design and its implementation was to be harmonious with site reclamation goals. In late May, just days before our grant application was reviewed by a major funding source, the Bureau of Land Management pulled out because it felt the design constituted a political statement. This effectively killed the project, and we spent the rest of 2016 regrouping and researching other opportunities. Further, the Daniel PowerSwitch was hit hard by hungry pronghorn, lack of weed control, and a very dry summer.

October 15, 2015: "Power Switch: A Gathering Place for Western Neighbors," by Michaela Rife, appears in the Nevada Art Museum's Center for Art + Environment Blog.

October 9, 2015: Pipeline Art Project presents Power Switch during a panel discussion about the "Intersection of Land, Art, and History in Wyoming," at the University of Wyoming Art Department, in conjunction with a Land Art seminar taught by Lucy Lippard.
View our Power Point
(3.5 MB PDF), in which a parallel is drawn between Power Switch and Carbon Sink.

July, August and September, 2015: several groups of visitors from all over Wyoming tour the site with us. Wyoming Public Radio features the Power Switch in a July 17 broadcast.

Open House July 18, 2015: Power Switch to the People, everyone invited to view the project.

July 2015: More rain means more flowers but also more weeds. We prepare for our Open House. Video of mowing, weedwacking and weeding.

June 2015: We make a presentation about Power Switch to the Our Place in the West and Beyond: Wyoming at 125 conference in Laramie, WY on the University of Wyoming campus. On site, weeding is the top priority as opportunistic plants try to crowd out the wallflowers. Early rains have given way to dry heat. Video of JB weeding.

April 2015: Got the time lapse video camera installed in a protective housing on JB's roof. Video of David securing the guy wires.

March 2015: Snow still covers the pasture but is melting quickly. We are making plans for a time lapse video of the growing season.

October 25, 2014: Seeds broadcast according to density recommended by Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, soil raked, then pressed with custom-made roller.

October 24, 2014: Seeds counted and measured to determine simple units for sowing by hand, in order to achieve density recommended by Natural Resources Conservation Service staff. Soil lightly tilled with small disker. Ridges raked out for smooth surface.

Late June and early August, 2014: Roundup herbicide applied to eradicate unwanted plants in design area.

Late May and early June, 2014: The design is laid out and tilled in JB's horse pasture.

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