The New Explorers, featuring Christy Gast

January 9th, 2016

The New Explorers examines encounters with the American landscape by twelve contemporary female artist-adventurers. An illustrated narrative with an introduction by author and critic Lucy R. Lippard, the book traces the role that artist-adventurers have played in shaping American identity throughout history. The author traveled across the country to talk with these women about their projects as part of her own quest to understand how artists make meaning in landscape. The conversations revealed emerging themes that override familiar notions of beauty and entropy and show how the topography of everydayness is ripe for cultural investigation by a new breed of artist-explorers. The book moves well beyond the boundaries of the art world to make unexpected connections between history, geography, and visual culture in the 21st century landscape.


In 2009, Christy Gast was flying from Tampa to Miami when she saw a giant body of water she knew nothing about. Her subsequent research led her to the Herbert Hoover Dike, which surrounds Lake Okeechobee. Once only ten feet high, and originally constructed with gravel, rock, limestone, sand, and shell, the dike now completely encircles the lake—140 miles—and stands thirty feet high except for a small gap where a stream flows inland. A product of the Hoover era, the dike was built in response to two devastating hurricanes in the late 1920s that caused widespread flooding and killed thousands of people in the region. Read more…