CA+E Blog Series | Fractured: North Dakota’s Oil Boom

Photographer Terry Evans and writer Elizabeth Farnsworth have been traveling to North Dakota over a period of almost two years to explore the Bakken oil fields, where an industrial boom made possible by fracking has caused a vast upheaval of native prairie and people’s lives. Their blog, which will run weekly for the next several months, highlights some of what they’ve found.  An exhibition opening in June at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and an exhibition with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Art Museum in fall 2014 will expand – in different ways – on the blog posts here. The North Dakota oil boom is a complex and dynamic phenomenon taking place in a landscape rich in history and lore, and Evans and Farnsworth focus on landscape, above all. Comments will be invited after the first few posts, and Evans and Farnsworth will be available for an on-line discussion in March 2013.

Each year the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art selects several artists and scholars to be two-year Research Fellows. Typically, Fellows produce significant archives and exhibitions for the Center. Evans and Farnsworth are Fellows for 2011-2013. Evans is a Chicago photographer whose work has focused on the interweaving of people and prairies and other landscapes for the past thirty-five years. Farnsworth, who was for many years a foreign correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, is a free-lance San Francisco reporter and filmmaker. Alice Bodnar copy edits and fact-checks the blogs.

The Bakken formation shading on the map shows the “mature Bakken,” which is the portion of the larger Bakken formation with recoverable oil deposits, according to the North Dakota Geological Survey.The Bakken formation shading on the map shows the “mature Bakken,” which is the portion of the larger Bakken formation with recoverable oil deposits, according to the North Dakota Geological Survey.