Land artist Stan Herd recreated one of the painter’s most iconic works in a huge field near the Minneapolis airport.

By Melissa Locker
Updated: January 24, 2017
Stan Herd /MiA

If you’re flying into Minneapolis in the next few weeks, be sure to look out the window, because you just might see a Van Gogh from the sky. 

As part of its 100th birthday celebration, the Minneapolis Institute of Art commissioned earthworks artist Stan Herd to recreate a painting from the museum’s permanent collection in a field near the airport, a site specifically chosen so that the work could be viewed from the air.

With plants and soil as his media, Herd transformed Vincent Van Gogh's 1889 painting "Olive Trees" from an oil-on-canvas work into a vibrant outdoor landscape that stretches over more than an acre. As with most large-scale land art, the project took months of planning and patience to come to fruition. Herd started working on the design back in the spring, carefully arranging the natural materials to recreate the Van Gogh painting, including the artist’s original brushstrokes.

"The amazing thing about Van Gogh's painting is there's not a single straight line in the whole canvas,” Herd says in a video produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. “Everything is organic and curved and flowing and it's like a pulse.”

Although Van Gogh’s painting has lasted for over a hundred years, Herd’s version of it will be much more fleeting. It’s expected to be on display through the fall (or whenever Minneapolis gets its first snowfall).