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b. 1956, United Kingdom

Andy Goldsworthy Biography

Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist and environmentalist who is best known for creating site-specific works in natural settings. In 1974, Goldsworthy began studying fine art at the Bradford College of Art (West Yorkshire, England), and later received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Preston Polytechnic (Lancashire, England). 

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Goldsworthy spent much of his youth as a labourer in the farming industry, which not only influenced his choice in materials, but also created the foundation of an environmental focus in his artistic practice. His sculptures are largely informed by the context in which he creates his work, using an array of natural and impermanent materials from the immediate environment such as wood, stones, leaves and twigs. The often fleeting quality of his work and their outdoor locations are also inspired from his rural background, where he witnessed an ever-changing landscape. Balanced ice column (1985), which was created in Cumbria, England, documents both a use of materials relevant to the site, as well as the transient nature of his sculptures by depicting slabs of ice intricately stacked in eight tiers. 

Goldsworthy’s ephemeral sculptural works are usually created in isolation using his own hands; however, he also creates more permanent sculptures which sometimes involve the use of machinery and often the assistance of skilled tradespeople. Storm King Wall (1997–1998) at Storm King Art Centre in New York State—Goldsworthy’s first museum commission for a permanent work in the US—exemplifies his use of the traditional dry stone walls as a motif in his work, drawing on British agricultural tradition and connecting the present to the past. Inspired by a historic wall on the site, the work is a 2,278 foot-long dry stone wall which snakes its way through woods, eventually disappearing into a pond, from which it emerges on the other side before continuing uphill to Storm King’s western boundary. Under Goldsworthy’s supervision, the work was built by a team of British wallers who stacked a variety of specific stones to create the roughhewn structure. 

Goldsworthy also uses photography as a medium, including as a means to document his sculptural works. As such, his practice demonstrates a dynamic relationship between the two mediums. Photography plays an integral part in giving his ephemeral works a sense of permanence, whilst equally recording deterioration. Photographs such as Sticks spire (1983) show stages of the works’ making and eventual deterioration. Goldsworthy will often photograph a sculptural work immediately after it is complete, and then return some time later to photograph it again. 

Nina Lala | Ocula | 2017

Exhibition view: Group Exhibition, Rhe: everything flows;, Galerie Lelong & Co., New York (7 January–13 February 2021).  Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York. 

Andy Goldsworthy Featured Artworks

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Foxgloves threaded onto rushes Scaur Glen, Dumfriesshire by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyFoxgloves threaded onto rushes Scaur Glen, Dumfriesshire, 1990Photography, 2 parts, single print
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Red river rock Dumfriesshire, Scotland 19 August 2016 by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyRed river rock Dumfriesshire, Scotland 19 August 2016, 2016Digital video, colour, sound
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Rain Shadow 2,
25 January 2010,
West 26th Street, New York by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyRain Shadow 2, 25 January 2010, West 26th Street, New York, 2010Dirt and rain on canvas
243 x 122 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Stone stack wrapped with leaves by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyStone stack wrapped with leaves, 18th November 2002Photograph, 2 parts, single print
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Barbed wire wool, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 29 May 2018 by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyBarbed wire wool, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 29 May 2018, 2018Unique archival inkjet print
90 x 60 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Ice Wedged between branches of a hazel tree Dumfriesshire, Scotland 8 January 2018 by Andy Goldsworthy contemporary artwork
Andy GoldsworthyIce Wedged between branches of a hazel tree Dumfriesshire, Scotland 8 January 2018, 2018Suite of three unique archival inkjet prints
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery

Andy Goldsworthy Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Rhe: everything flows; at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Open Now
7 January–13 February 2021 Group Exhibition Rhe: everything flows; Galerie Lelong & Co. New YorkNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, RED at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, Online Only
Closed
10 April–8 May 2020 Group Exhibition RED Galerie Lelong & Co. New YorkOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Andy Goldsworthy, Leaning into the Wind at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Closed
22 October–5 December 2015 Andy Goldsworthy Leaning into the Wind Galerie Lelong & Co. New YorkNew York

Andy Goldsworthy Represented By

Andy Goldsworthy In Ocula Magazine

The most searched artists on Ocula now Ocula Photolog The most searched artists on Ocula now

A selection of this week's most searched artists on Ocula.com 

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Andy Goldsworthy In Related Press

This Wall Was Made for Walking Related Press This Wall Was Made for Walking 23 October 2019, The New York Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—There are walls—and then there are walls. Some, like the one that separated East and West Berlin, are designed to keep people in. Others, like the one snaking along portions of the southern border of the United States, are intended to keep people out. But the Walking Wall created by the artist Andy Goldsworthy at the...

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Film Review: 'Leaning Into the Wind' Related Press Film Review: 'Leaning Into the Wind' 9 April 2017, Variety

'You can walk down the path, or you can walk through the hedge,' says Andy Goldsworthy in Thomas Ridelsheimer's second documentary about the British sculptor. That Goldsworthy invariably chooses Plan B goes to the heart of the fascination with his site-specific, variably ephemeral work, in which elements of the natural surroundings are altered...

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Art as methodology Related Press Art as methodology 29 November 2016, Aesthetica Magazine

Why do we need art? How does it benefit us and why should artists be paid to contribute to society in this way? These questions have been a constant in the industry, with discussions of value, both monetary and psychologically. The Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, puts these angles into conversation in their new exhibition On the Origin of...

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Andy Goldsworthy In Video & Audio

Andy Goldsworthy’s Ephemeral Art and Laborious Process, in a New Documentary Related Video & Audio Andy Goldsworthy’s Ephemeral Art and Laborious Process, in a New Documentary 9 March 2018, Hyperallergic

Every article about Andy Goldsworthy tells you he's an artist who works with nature. Very early on in director Thomas Riedelsheimer's new film Leaning into the Wind, his second about the artist (after Rivers and Tides, 2001), Goldsworthy says, 'Why even mention it? Nature is everywhere.' For him, the boundaries between nature and self are...

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