Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art
A Film by James Crump

Documentary / 72 min / 2015

Admission with the exhibition ticket 8€/5€


“Takes its place among the great art documentaries of the last half-century!”


On Wednesday, February 5th Kai cinema kicks off film and lecture program exploring the origins and legacy of land art in conjunction with the newly opened exhibition Radical Light. The screenings include Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art (2015) that has been named “one of the great art documentaries of the last half-century” as well as rare films about Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson and Sun Tunnels (1978) by Nancy Holt. The screening on February 19th will be introduced by art historian Andres Kurg.

 Spiral Jetty and the Sun Tunnels will be screened on March 4th and 18th.


Troublemakers unearths the history of land art in the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s when a cadre of renegade New York artists sought to transcend the limitations of painting and sculpture by producing earthworks on a monumental scale in the desolate desert spaces of the American southwest. Today these works remain impressive not only for the sheer audacity of their makers but also for their out-sized ambitions to break free from traditional norms. The film casts these artists in a heroic light, which is exactly how they saw themselves. Iconoclasts who changed the landscape of art forever, these revolutionary, antagonistic creatives risked their careers on radical artistic change and experimentation, and took on the establishment to produce art on their own terms. The film includes rare footage and interviews which unveil the enigmatic lives and careers of storied artists Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field) and Michael Heizer (Double Negative); a headstrong troika that established the genre and who stand in marked contrast to the hyper-speculative contemporary art world of today.


James Crump made his directorial debut at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival with Black White + Gray, featuring the influential and legendary curator and art collector Sam Wagstaff and artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The film began airing on the Sundance Channel in March 2008. In 2013, Black White + Gray was named among Blouin ArtInfo’s 20 Must-Watch Artist Documentaries. A curator and art historian, Crump is also the author or co-author of numerous books and has published widely in the fields of modern and contemporary art. Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art is his second feature documentary.