Desert Rooftops

David Brooks

Art Production Fund

 In 2012, Art Production Fund presented Desert Rooftops by David Brooks, the first installation at The Last Lot project space, on 46th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City.

Desert Rooftops was a 5,000-square-foot sculpture that featured an undulating configuration of multiple asphalt-shingled rooftops similar to those on suburban developments, McMansions and strip malls conjoined to resemble a rolling, dune-like landscape.

The piece examined issues of the natural and built landscape by comparing the monoculture that arises from unchecked suburban and urban sprawl with that of an over-cultivated landscape – creating a work that was “picturesque, familiar and simultaneously foreboding.”  Brooks’ sculptural approach acknowledged Robert Smithson’s earthworks and Gordon Matta-Clark’s building cuts while offering a much needed sense of humor to help digest the time's somber environmental issues.

As housing communities devour more and more land and resources each year the outcome is equivalent to the very process of desertification. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification defines desertification as: land degradation into arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including human activities and climatic variations derived from over-development, over-grazing and an overworked land. The result is often a depleted landscape inhospitable to other life.

The Last Lot was a generous short term donation to Art Production Fund from The Shubert Organization, and was part of the Times Square Alliance’s public art program that works to bring cutting-edge art to Times Square. “We feel fortunate to have access to such a unique public venue within proximity to Times Square,” said Art Production Fund Co-Founders Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen.

A panel discussion was held Monday January 30th 2012:

DAVID BROOKS moderates a discussion with panelists:
MARK DION (artist)
KATE ORFF (landscape architect)
MIERLE LADERMAN UKELES (artist and author of Maintenance Art Manifesto)
SINA NAJAFI (curator and editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine)

Programming for the Last Lot focused on presenting public artworks that raise envoronmental consicousness.
This panel discussed the expanding tradition of land art and its ability to articulate the continuously convoluted
relationship culture maintains with the larger biosphere.

Desert Rooftops was on view at The Last Lot (46th Street and 8th Avenue, NYC) through February
5th, 2012. This project was made possible through the generous support of Sothebys.