Matthew López-Jensen is an environmental artist known for his expansive projects about landscape and place. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography in 2016 for Park Wonder, his multi-disciplinary exploration of landscapes in Northern New Jersey.
The relationship between technology and landscape is an ongoing meditation in many of his works, such as The 49 States (2008), the first-ever photographic series made on a “virtual road trip” across the United States. The series was acquired and exhibited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. Subsequent series such as Traffic Cam Sunrise (2014) and Remember Moonlight (2018) also reveal how technological shifts have transformed our relationship to the landscape.
López-Jensen’s site-specific projects and artist walks have been commissioned and exhibited for a range of venues such as Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Queens Museum, the High Line, Open Spaces Kansas City, and Kenpoku Arts in Ibaraki, Japan.
Interview with the Artist
1. Who is your favorite artist?
I can't answer just one. I have a strange mixed bag of artists I admire. One of them is Ryan Trecartin because he addresses issues like consumerism and sexuality in a direct way. In photography, I love the Becher's work, Struth, Sugimoto, and Eggleston. A number of my pieces approach typology but with a careful consideration for the place I am in and a democratic treatment for the subject. I also like Francis Alí¿s's work; I love the videos of him chasing and running straight into the dust devils.
2. Regarding your work, would you say that you can relate to Richard Long and Hamish Fulton because they walk so much?
I can relate to their process, the quietness of their work and the clear love for landscape that comes out of it.
3. What are your favorite art spaces?
MoMA PS1, Dia:Beacon, and MassMoCA, but on the quietest days.
4. What are your hobbies?
I try to incorporate my hobbies into my process: I like walking, exploring, and finding things, so I put that into my art. Then of course there is tennis, one of my first loves, but it is hard to find time and courts.
5. Do you listen to music when you're walking for work?
Never. I enjoy the meditation of walking and looking. I try not to bring the baggage of the day with me when I'm walking through a landscape. And it is actually pretty dangerous to walk with headphones.
6. What are your favorite landscapes to work in?
I love to work and walk in places that have been lived in and have history. There are always amazing local landmarks that pop up out of nowhere. It's always interesting to walk a course in a landscape where walkers are rare and seeing someone walking is a surprise.
7. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
I want to see the Northern Lights, so as far north as I need to go.
8. What would your last meal on Earth be?
A burrito at Lupe's on 6th Avenue in SoHo.