Founded in Los Angeles in 1994, The Center for Land Use Interpretation is involved in the exploration and study of land and landscape. They pursue interdisciplinary reflections on the modification of the planet by the agricultural, industrial, military, or tourist activity of homo sapiens. When he was a student, CLUI’s founder Matthew Coolidge encountered the work of Robert Smithson. The spirit of Smithson – one of the pioneers of land art who realized work on a 1:1 scale – looms over the center’s projects. CLUI organizes exhibitions; manages photo archives; conducts a residency program in the desert in Wendover, Utah; publishes scientific books and guides; and organizes tours to hard-to-access areas of the United States, such as nuclear test sites. The organization has also founded the conceptual American Land Museum, covering the entire territory of the United States, with its collection made up of sites catalogued by CLUI (former factories, waste dumps, graveyards for aircraft, models of cities for military exercises, slag heaps, and so on). Critical theorist and curator Lucy Lippard has written that CLUI is a major heir to the conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s, although it is hard to recognize its activity as art.
MAKING USE. LIFE IN POSTARTISTIC TIMES IS AN EXHIBITION AND PUBLIC PROGRAM FEATURING MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED PARTICIPANTS