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Andy Goldsworthy

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Andy Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy in July 2005
Born (1956-07-25) 25 July 1956 (age 67)
Cheshire, England
Known forSculpture, photography
MovementEnvironmental art, land art
SpouseJudith Gregson (divorced)
PartnerTina Fiske

Andy Goldsworthy OBE (born 25 July 1956) is an English sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculptures and land art situated in natural and urban settings.

Early life

Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire on 25 July 1956, the son of Muriel (née Stanger) and F. Allin Goldsworthy (1929–2001), a former professor of applied mathematics at the University of Leeds.[1][2] He grew up on the Harrogate side of Leeds. From the age of 13, he worked on farms as a labourer. He has likened the repetitive quality of farm tasks to the routine of making sculpture: "A lot of my work is like picking potatoes; you have to get into the rhythm of it."[3] He studied fine art at Bradford College of Art from 1974 to 1975 and at Preston Polytechnic (now the University of Central Lancashire) from 1975 to 1978,[1] receiving his BA from the latter.[citation needed]



Sculpture by Goldsworthy in the National Museum of Scotland

After leaving college, Goldsworthy lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria.[4] He moved to Scotland in 1985, first living in Langholm and then settling a year later in Penpont, where he still resides. It has been said that his gradual drift northwards was "due to a way of life over which he did not have complete control", but that contributing factors were opportunities and desires to work in these areas and "reasons of economy".[4]

In 1993, Goldsworthy received an honorary degree from the University of Bradford. He was an A.D. White Professor-At-Large in Sculpture at Cornell University 2000–2006 and 2006–2008.[5]

In 2003,[6] Goldsworthy produced a commissioned work for the entry courtyard of San Francisco's de Young Museum called "Drawn Stone", which echoes San Francisco's frequent earthquakes and their effects. His installation included a giant crack in the pavement that broke off into smaller cracks, and broken limestone, which could be used for benches. The smaller cracks were made with a hammer adding unpredictability to the work as he created it.[7]

Art process

The materials used in Goldsworthy's art often include brightly coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, "I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole."[8]

Rather than interfering in natural processes, his work magnifies existing ones through deliberately minimal intervention in the landscape. Goldsworthy has said “I am reluctant to carve into or break off solid living rock…I feel a difference between large, deep rooted stones and the debris lying at the foot of a cliff, pebbles on a beach…These are loose and unsettled, as if on a journey, and I can work with them in ways I couldn’t with a long resting stone.”[9] Goldsworthy’s commitment to working with available natural materials injects an inherent scarcity and contingency into the work.[10]

In contrast to other artists who work with the land, most of Goldsworthy’s works are small in scale and temporary in their installation.[9] For these ephemeral works, Goldsworthy often uses only his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and arrange the materials. His process reveals a preoccupation with temporality and a specific attention to materials which visibly age and decay, a view which stands in contrast to monumentalism in Land Art.[11]

For his permanent sculptures like "Roof", "Stone River" and "Three Cairns", "Moonlit Path" (Petworth, West Sussex, 2002) and "Chalk Stones" in the South Downs, near West Dean, West Sussex he has employed the use of machine tools. To create "Roof", Goldsworthy worked with his assistant and five British dry-stone wallers, who were used to make sure the structure could withstand time and nature.

Goldsworthy is generally considered the founder of modern rock balancing.


Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. Photographs (made primarily by Goldsworthy himself) of site-specific, environmental works allow them to be shared without severing important ties to place.[12] According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit."[13]

Photography aids Goldsworthy in understanding his works, as much as in communicating them to an audience. He has said, “Photography is my way of talking, writing and thinking about my art. It makes me aware of connections and developments that might have not otherwise have been apparent. It is the visual evidence which runs through my art as a whole and gives me a broader, more distant view of what I am doing.”[10]

Documentary films on Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy is the subject of a 2001 documentary feature film called Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer.[14] In 2018, Riedelsheimer released a second documentary on Goldsworthy titled Leaning Into the Wind.[15]

Personal life

In 1982, Goldsworthy married Judith Gregson; they had four children together before separating. He now lives in the Scottish village of Penpont with his girlfriend, Tina Fiske, an art historian.[3]


Exhibitions and installations

Image Dates Title Location
1995–2008 Sapsucker Cairn[16] Ithaca, New York, USA
1996–2003 Sheepfolds Cumbria, England, UK
1997 Stone House[17] Herring Island, Victoria, Australia
1997 Cairn[17] Herring Island, Victoria, Australia
1998 Hutton Roof National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

22 May –
15 November 2000
Andy Goldsworthy at Storm King Art Center[18]
(featuring the installation Storm King Wall)
Storm King Art Center

Mountainville, Cornwall, New York, USA

August 2001 Stone River[19] Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

Stanford, California, USA

2002 Andy Goldsworthy Arch at Goodwood[20] Cass Sculpture Foundation

Goodwood, West Sussex, England, UK

2002 Chalk Stones Trail South Downs near West Dean, West Sussex

2002 Three Cairns[21] Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines, IA USA

4 May –
31 October 2004
Andy Goldsworthy on the Roof[22]

(featuring the installation Stone Houses)

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden

New York City, USA

2005 Andy Goldsworthy: Early Works

A national touring exhibition from the Haywood Gallery[23]

England, United Kingdom
2005 Drawn Stone[citation needed] M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

San Francisco

2005 Arches[24] Gibbs Farm
New Zealand
22 January –
15 May 2005
The Andy Goldsworthy Project[25]

(including the installation Roof)[26]

National Gallery of Art

National Mall, Washington, D.C., USA

2006 Red sandstone wall at the Doerr-Hosier Center[27] Aspen Institute

Aspen, Colorado, USA

31 March 2007 –
6 January 2008
Hanging Trees[28] Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, UK

2007 – 2008 Clay Houses (Boulder-Room-Holes)[29] Glenstone

Potomac, Maryland, USA

October 2008 Spire[30] Park Presidio
San Francisco
June 2009 Refuge d’Art Hiking Trail, Provence, France[31] Provence
2010-11 Wood Line[32] Park Presidio
San Francisco
7 September 2012 –
2 November 2012
Domo de Argila / Clay Dome[33][34] Cais do Porto

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2013 Tree Fall[35] Park Presidio
San Francisco
2014 Earth Wall[36] Park Presidio
San Francisco
2019 Walking Wall[37][38] Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


  • Andy Goldsworthy (1985). Rain, Sun, Snow, Hail, Mist, Calm: Photoworks by Andy Goldsworthy. Leeds: Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture. ISBN 0-901981-24-9.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1988). Parkland. [Yorkshire]: Yorkshire Sculpture Park. ISBN 1-871480-00-0.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1989). Touching North. London: Fabian Carlsson. ISBN 0-948274-06-9.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1989). Leaves. London: Common Ground. ISBN 1-870364-07-4.
  • Andy Goldsworth (1990). Andy Goldsworthy. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-83213-8. Republished as Andy Goldsworthy (1990). Andy Goldsworthy : A Collaboration with Nature. New York, N.Y.: H. N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3351-9.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1992). Ice and Snow Drawings : 1990–1992. Edinburgh: FruitMarket Gallery. ISBN 0-947912-06-1.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy; Friedman, Terry (1993). Hand to Earth : Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture, 1976–1990. New York, N.Y.: H. N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3420-5.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1994). Stone. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-85478-6.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy; Chettle, Steve; Nesbitt, Paul; Humphries, Andrew (1996). Sheepfolds. London: Michael Hue-Williams Fine Art Ltd.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (1996). Wood. Introduction by Terry Friedman. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-87137-0.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy; Craig, David (1999). Arch. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01933-9.
  • Andy Goldsworthy. Chronology by Terry Friedman (2000). Time. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51026-1.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy; Thompson, Jerry L.; Storm King Art Center (2000). Wall at Storm King. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01991-6.
  • Andy Goldsworthy. Introduction by Judith Collins (2001). Midsummer Snowballs. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51065-2.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (2002). Andy Goldsworthy : Refuges D'Art. Lyon; Digne, France: Editions Artha; Musée départemental de Digne. ISBN 2-84845-001-0.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (2004). Passage. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51191-8.
  • Andy Goldsworthy (2007). Enclosure. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-09336-8.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy (2015). Andy Goldsworthy: Ephemeral Works: 2004–2014. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-1419717796.

See also


  1. ^ a b Stonard, John Paul (10 December 2000). "Goldsworthy, Andy". Grove Art Online Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 15 May 2007.
  2. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Adams, Tim (11 March 2007). "Natural talent". The Observer. London.
  4. ^ a b "Andy Goldsworthy". Cass Sculpture Foundation. Archived from the original on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  5. ^ "All Professors at Large 1965 to June 30, 2021". Andrew D. White Professors-at-Large. Cornell University. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy: "Drawn Stone," 2005". de Young. 22 March 2010.
  7. ^ Douglas, Sarah (24 October 2005). "In Their Words: James Turrell and Andy Goldsworthy". ARTINFO. Retrieved 16 April 2008. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Sooke, Alastair (24 March 2007). "He's got the whole world in his hands". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. ^ a b Hatley, James D. (2005). "Techne and Phusis: Wilderness and the Aesthetics of the Trace in Andrew Goldsworthy". Environmental Philosophy. 2 (2): 6–17. doi:10.5840/envirophil2005222. JSTOR 26167923 – via JSTOR.
  10. ^ a b De Warren, Nicolas (2007). "Off the Beaten Path: The Artworks of Andrew Goldsworthy". Environmental Philosophy. 4 (1&2) (Special Issue: Environmental Aesthetics and Ecological Restoration ed.): 29–48. doi:10.5840/envirophil200741/24. JSTOR 26167139 – via JSTOR.
  11. ^ Matless, David; Revill, George (1995). "A Solo Ecology: The Erratic Art of Andy Goldsworthy". Ecumene. 2 (4): 423–448. doi:10.1177/147447409500200404. JSTOR 44251789. S2CID 192196583 – via JSTOR.
  12. ^ Fawcett, Laughlin (1997). "The Geometrician". Landscape Architecture Magazine. pp. 46–51, 72. JSTOR 44671803. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy: Art of nature". ninemsn. 19 February 2006. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
  14. ^ "Rivers and Tides". IMDb. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  15. ^ Ide, Wendy (12 August 2018). "Leaning into the Wind review – more travels with Andy Goldsworthy". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  16. ^ "Sapsucker Cairn". Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Artworks of Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park". Herring Island. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy at Storm King Art Center". Storm King Art Center. 2000. Archived from the original on 29 September 2000. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  19. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy sculpture, Stone River, enters Stanford University's outdoor art collection". Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. 4 September 2001. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
  20. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy: Arch at Goodwood, 2002". Cass Sculpture Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  21. ^ "Three Cairns". Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. 2023. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  22. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy on the Roof". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  23. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy : Early Works : Leaves, Twigs, Enormous Snowballs and Icicles... Andy Goldworthy's Sculptures are Inherently Surprising and Beautiful". bbc.co.uk. 4 May 2005. "Andy Goldsworthy : Nature and Art Combine when the Early Works of the Internationally Renowned Artist Andy Goldsworthy come to Fairfields Art Centre in Basingstoke". bbc.co.uk. 20 September 2005.
  24. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy, Arches - Gibbs Farm". www.gibbsfarm.org.nz. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  25. ^ "The Andy Goldsworthy Project : 22 January – 15 May 2005". National Gallery of Art. 2005. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  26. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy : Roof". National Gallery of Art. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  27. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (23 September 2006). "A Wall of Integration, Not Division". Aspen Times Weekly. Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
  28. ^ Calton, Gary (photographer) (11 March 2007). "Andy Goldsworthy at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2007. "Andy Goldsworthy". Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Archived from the original on 18 June 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  29. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy". Glenstone. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Spire, by Andy Goldsworthy". The Presidio Trust. 2009. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  31. ^ "Provence art trail, by Andy Goldsworthy". The Guardian. London. 19 June 2009. Archived from the original on 23 July 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  32. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line". The Presidio Trust. 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  33. ^ "OiR Final release" (PDF). Oi Futuro Public Art Program. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  34. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy – Domo de Argila Legendado – YouTube". Oi Futuro Public Art Program. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  35. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy's Earth Wall". The Presidio Trust. 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Andy Goldsworthy's Tree Fall". The Presidio Trust. 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  37. ^ Mark Gardiner (23 October 2019). "This Wall Was Made For Walking". The New York Times.
  38. ^ "Walking Wall". Retrieved 29 December 2023.

Further information



  • Malpas, William (1995). Andy Goldsworthy: Touching Nature. Kidderminster: Crescent Moon. ISBN 1-86171-049-6.
  • Malpas, William (1998). The Art of Andy Goldsworthy. Kidderminster: Crescent Moon. ISBN 1-86171-032-1.
  • Malpas, William (2003). Andy Goldsworthy in Close-Up. Maidstone, Kent: Crescent Moon. ISBN 1-86171-050-X.
  • Malpas, William (2008). Andy Goldsworthy: Pocket Guide. Maidstone, Kent: Crescent Moon. ISBN 978-1-86171-241-7.


External links