60 Minute Walk is a large-scale lithograph and screenprint created in an edition of sixty. It consists of sixty lines of text all in capitals printed in white in Gill Sans typeface over a swirling black background that forms a tall, thin rectangle. Each line of text includes one to three words. The surface of the print has a rich velvety-looking texture. Below the black rectangle the following words are printed in red, also in Gill Sans typeface:
BIG BEND STRAIGHT HOUR A STRAIGHT 60 MINUTE SOUTHWARD WALK ON A 10 DAY WALK IN BIG BEND TEXAS 1990
The edition was printed by Maurice Sanchez at the Derriere L’Etoile Studios in New York and published by Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York. The print is usually displayed alongside Black Dust Hand Line 1990 (Tate AL00208), also in the ARTIST ROOMS collection. Both prints include a thin black vertical rectangle containing a swirled pattern. To create this pattern – from which the print was subsequently made – Long worked ink, or something similar, with his fingertips. Long often uses his hands for mark making in this way and has referred to ‘the primal energy of handprints and fingerprints.’ (Quoted in Elliott 2007, p.52.)
The text records a walk that the artist took in Big Bend, Texas, with one line of text equating to each minute of the sixty-minute walk. The lines describe what Long saw (‘LIZARD’, ‘BIG SKY’, ‘ORANGE BUTTERFLY’), heard (‘BUZZING’, ‘RUSTLING’), felt (‘BREEZE’) and did (‘SQUINTING’, ‘PACING’) during the course of his hour-long walk. His words reflect the arid desert landscape through which he passed, but the text also contains references to local flora and fauna (‘CACTUS BLOOMS’, ‘JACK RABBIT’) as well as allusions to specific geological features (‘LAVA STONE’, ‘MESA’). The artist also mentions local landmarks such as the Chisos Mountains and Mule Ears Peaks, and the word ‘MEXICO’ refers to the nearby border.
Long has produced other works relating to the Big Bend area of Texas, including Silence Circle Big Bend Texas 1990 (Tate T06472), Walking Out of Stones, Big Bend, Texas 1990 (reproduced in Brettell and Friis-Hansen 1996, p.19) and Texas Circle 1996 (reproduced in Brettell and Friis-Hansen 1996, pp.33, 45). The curator Dana Friis-Hansen has described 60 Minute Walk as a ‘sensual response to a walk’ and ‘an amazing array of one-word verbal artefacts at a rate of one per minute.’ (Brettell and Friis-Hansen 1996, p.13.) Though Long often makes his walks based on physical distance, the artist structured this walk around a length of time using duration as a formal device. He allowed the sixty-minute length of the walk to dictate other aspects of the work too, creating a run of sixty prints and using sixty lines of text.
The language of 60 Minute Walk is poetic but spare. Long has used language in this pared-back manner since his first text work, A Walking Tour in the Berner Oberland: When Attitudes Become Form 1969 (whereabouts unknown). Made for the seminal exhibition of conceptual art When Attitudes Become Form: Live in Your Head, held at the Kunsthalle Bern in 1969, this early work recorded a long walk in simple and impersonal language (see Clarrie Wallis (ed.), Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2009, p.47). Such language is characteristic of conceptualism. But whereas other conceptual artists making text-based work (such as Lawrence Weiner) privilege the idea over its actual realisation, for Long it is essential that the idea presented in the text has been executed. Long has commented that text works ‘could sometimes render the idea of a walk … more precisely, more simply, and also more generally [than photographs]. I have conceived many particular walks because I can use the text-work as the best, purest, and most appropriate form to represent them.’ (Quoted in Brettell and Friis-Hansen 1996, p.17.)
Richard R. Brettel and Dana Friis-Hansen (eds.), Richard Long: Circles, Cycles, Mud, Stones, exhibition catalogue, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston 1996, p.13, reproduced p.44.
Patrick Elliott, Richard Long: Walking and Marking, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh 2007.
Gerard Vermeulen (ed.), Richard Long: Prints 1970–2013, exhibition catalogue, Hamburger Kunsthalle, London 2013, p.100, reproduced p.101.
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a research partner of ARTIST ROOMS.