Ed Ranney's book The Lines reviewed
The following review appeared in BookForum's Sep/Oct/Nov 2014 issue in an article titled "Artful Volumes" written by Christopher Lyon on "this season's notable art books."
Edward Ranney's The Lines
(Yale University Art Gallery, $45) ... Over thirty years, Ranney photographed landscapes containing the mysterious lines called geoglyphs, produced between about 500 BC and 650 AD by the Nazca culture. Shooting from vantage points on the ground and in nearby foothills, Ranney is not out to explain the lines, but to show how the map-like markings transform the harsh environment into a comprehensible, "even intimate" (as he says) cultural space. Artists who emerged in the 1960s, including Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, and Richard Long, were inspired by the Nazca glyphs, as Lucy Lippard explains in her illuminating essay, to create artworks directly in the landscape. These artists helped us to see the glyphs not as archaeological curiosities (or billboards for visitors from space) but as expressions of artistic thought — though the communal and spiritual values and reverence for nature that informed the lines' makers remain alien to us.
You can buy the book here.