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Lucelia Artist Award

2006—Matthew Coolidge
Director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation

Installation by Andrea Zittel

Matthew Coolidge, director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, is the sixth annual winner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucelia Artist Award.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a research and educational organization that seeks meaning in the landscapes people inhabit and alter. Coolidge founded the Center as a way to engage in intensive research about the built landscape of the United States. The Center disseminates its findings through exhibitions, tours, lectures, kiosks, an online "Land Use Database" publication and a national network of on-site interpretative facilities known as the American Land Museum. The Center's aim is to raise awareness about the uses and misuses of the environment by revealing human interventions that have significantly altered the landscape or created oddities in the midst of urban settings.

Coolidge and the Center produce exhibitions with photographs, video, text and interactive new media that are on display in the Center's facilities. The Center's main exhibition space and offices are in Culver City, Calif. In addition, the Center presents exhibitions and programs at its Desert Research Station, located in the Mojave desert, and in Wendover, Utah. A location in upstate New York is scheduled to open this year. Exhibitions also are presented in museums, galleries and other exhibition spaces throughout North America and Europe.

During the past 10 years, Coolidge has been involved in all the exhibitions created by the Center, including "Hinterland: A Voyage into Exurban Southern California" (1997) at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, "Commonwealth of Technology" (1999) at the List Center for Visual Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, "The Nellis Range Complex: Landscape of Conjecture" (1999) and "Emergency State: First Responder & Law Enforcement Training Architecture" (2004) at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles. Coolidge has authored several books, most recently "Overlook: Exploring the Internal Fringes of America with the Center for Land Use Interpretation." Coolidge earned a bachelor's degree in environmental studies, contemporary art and film studies from Boston University in 1991. In 1994, Coolidge founded the Center for Land Use Interpretation and continues to serve as its director today. Under his leadership, the Center has received numerous grants, including support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Annenberg Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Coolidge was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2004 and a media arts fellowship in 2005 from the Rockefeller Foundation and National Video Resources. Since 2003, he has been an adjunct professor in the master's program in curatorial practice at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

CLUI's Web site is


Pamela Lee, professor in the department of art history at Stanford University

Christian Marclay, artist

James Rondeau, curator of contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago

Linda Shearer, director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati

Nancy Spector, curator of contemporary art and director of curatorial affairs at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City

Pictured: Center for Land Use Interpretation, View of the CLUI Program A Tour of the Monuments of the Great American Void, 2005, CLUI photo by Steve Rowell