Mary Lucier is considered one of the pioneers of video as an art form. The artist’s 18-minute, five-channel video installation employs four video projections, two plasma screens, surround sound, and various rescued objects and artifacts to tell the story of the seismic changes sweeping the American Great Plains. Agri-business is supplanting family farms and changing small town life as we know it. The Plains of Sweet Regret is a lyrical ode to this region as it moves toward an uncertain future.
Lucier’s The Plains of Sweet Regret addresses a dying way of life on the Great Plains, with its lone ranchers, cowboys, farm hands, and migrant workers forming small towns across the prairies and plains. Now replaced by large agri-business, the rural towns with their family farms are becoming a thing of the past.
The shift from rodeo man to desolate land is set to the music of George Strait’s country song “I Can Still Make Cheyenne.”
Lucier is considered a pioneer of video installation as art, concentrating on the medium since 1973. She has since created more than 50 major pieces, has shown internationally, and is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is her second installation capturing loss in the Northern Plains. Her first, Floodsongs, was named Best Video Exhibition in 1998-9 by the International Art Critics Association.
Mary Lucier: The Plains of Sweet Regret has been made possible the City of Birmingham and Donald and Doris Fisher. General exhibition support is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts.