Artist Projects

The Plains of Sweet Regret


Mary Lucier

In North Dakota, seismic change has swept away family farms and ranches, small towns, and rural schools. The land is now occupied by agri-business with its massive machinery, global positioning systems for precision crop management, worldwide marketing networks, and government safety nets. The lone farmer, the cowboy, crews of custom combiners, migrant workers, and field hands gradually move on. The remains of that earlier life dot the landscape like the skeletons of fish washed up on far distant shores. The Plains of Sweet Regret is Lucier’s response: an eighteen-minute, five-channel video installation employs four video projections, two plasma screens, surround sound, and various rescued objects and artifacts. With these she creates the experience of moving through the landscape, across the Prairies and the Plains, into the birthing pens and the rodeo arenas, and, finally, back into the West of the imagination–the West, which, if it ever existed, lies in ruins.

Project Updates

  • 2009: The Plains of Sweet Regret closes at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth,TX, where it has been on view since November 15, 2008. Its next venue will be the Birmingham Museum of Art, in Birmingham, AL, where it will open on March 25.

  • 2006: The Plains of Sweet Regret premieres at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie WY

  • 2007: The Plains of Sweet Regret travels to several venues throughout the country and arrives in New York at Lennon, Weinberg Inc