kids encyclopedia robot

Andy Goldsworthy facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy de Young installation.jpg
Goldsworthy in July 2005
Born (1956-07-25) 25 July 1956 (age 67)
Cheshire, England
Known for Sculpture, photography
Movement Environmental art, land art
Spouse(s) Judith Gregson (divorced)
Partner(s) Tina Fiske

Andy Goldsworthy OBE (born 26 July 1956) is an English sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculptures and land art situated in natural and urban settings.

Early life

Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire on 26 July 1956, the son of Muriel (née Stanger) and F. Allin Goldsworthy (1929–2001), a former professor of applied mathematics at the University of Leeds. He grew up on the Harrogate side of Leeds. From the age of 13, he worked on farms as a labourer. He has likened the repetitive quality of farm tasks to the routine of making sculpture: "A lot of my work is like picking potatoes; you have to get into the rhythm of it." He studied fine art at Bradford College of Art from 1974 to 1975 and at Preston Polytechnic (now the University of Central Lancashire) from 1975 to 1978, receiving his BA from the latter.



Sculpture in National Museum of Scotland by Andy Goldsworthy
Sculpture by Goldsworthy in the National Museum of Scotland

After leaving college, Goldsworthy lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria. He moved to Scotland in 1985, first living in Langholm and then settling a year later in Penpont, where he still resides. It has been said that his gradual drift northwards was "due to a way of life over which he did not have complete control", but that contributing factors were opportunities and desires to work in these areas and "reasons of economy".

In 1993, Goldsworthy received an honorary degree from the University of Bradford. He was an A.D. White Professor-At-Large in Sculpture at Cornell University 2000–2006 and 2006–2008.

In 2003, Goldsworthy produced a commissioned work for the entry courtyard of San Francisco's de Young Museum called "Drawn Stone", which echoes San Francisco's frequent earthquakes and their effects. His installation included a giant crack in the pavement that broke off into smaller cracks, and broken limestone, which could be used for benches. The smaller cracks were made with a hammer adding unpredictability to the work as he created it.

Art process

The materials used in Goldsworthy's art often include brightly coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, "I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole."

Rather than interfering in natural processes, his work magnifies existing ones through deliberately minimal intervention in the landscape. Goldsworthy has said “I am reluctant to carve into or break off solid living rock…I feel a difference between large, deep rooted stones and the debris lying at the foot of a cliff, pebbles on a beach…These are loose and unsettled, as if on a journey, and I can work with them in ways I couldn’t with a long resting stone.” Goldsworthy’s commitment to working with available natural materials injects an inherent scarcity and contingency into the work.

In contrast to other artists who work with the land, most of Goldsworthy’s works are small in scale and temporary in their installation. For these ephemeral works, Goldsworthy often uses only his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and arrange the materials. His process reveals a preoccupation with temporality and a specific attention to materials which visibly age and decay, a view which stands in contrast to monumentalism in Land Art.

For his permanent sculptures like "Roof", "Stone River" and "Three Cairns", "Moonlit Path" (Petworth, West Sussex, 2002) and "Chalk Stones" in the South Downs, near West Dean, West Sussex he has employed the use of machine tools. To create "Roof", Goldsworthy worked with his assistant and five British dry-stone wallers, who were used to make sure the structure could withstand time and nature.

Goldsworthy is generally considered the founder of modern rock balancing.


Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. Photographs (made primarily by Goldsworthy himself) of site-specific, environmental works allow them to be shared without severing important ties to place. According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit."

Photography aids Goldsworthy in understanding his works, as much as in communicating them to an audience. He has said, “Photography is my way of talking, writing and thinking about my art. It makes me aware of connections and developments that might have not otherwise have been apparent. It is the visual evidence which runs through my art as a whole and gives me a broader, more distant view of what I am doing.”

Documentary films on Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy is the subject of a 2001 documentary feature film called Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer. In 2018, Riedelsheimer released a second documentary on Goldsworthy, Leaning Into the Wind.

Personal life

In 1982, Goldsworthy married Judith Gregson; they had four children together before separating. He now lives in the Scottish village of Penpont with his girlfriend, Tina Fiske, an art historian.


  • 1979 – North West Arts Award
  • 1980 – Yorkshire Arts Award
  • 1981 – Northern Arts Award
  • 1982 – Northern Arts Award
  • 1986 – Northern Arts Bursary
  • 1987 – Scottish Arts Council Award
  • 1989 – Northern Electricity Arts Award
  • 2000 – Appointed officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Exhibitions and installations

Image Dates Title Location
1995–2008 Sapsucker Cairn Ithaca, New York, USA
Andy Goldsworthy-Fold1.jpg 1996–2003 Sheepfolds Cumbria, England, UK
Stone House (Andy Goldsworthy 1997).JPG 1997 Stone House Herring Island, Victoria, Australia
Cairn (Andy Goldworthy 1997).JPG 1997 Cairn Herring Island, Victoria, Australia
1998 Hutton Roof National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

22 May –
15 November 2000
Andy Goldsworthy at Storm King Art Center
(featuring the installation Storm King Wall)
Storm King Art Center

Mountainville, Cornwall, New York, USA

August 2001 Stone River Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University

Stanford, California, USA

2002 Andy Goldsworthy Arch at Goodwood Cass Sculpture Foundation

Goodwood, West Sussex, England, UK

Boulder on the Chalk Stones Trail.jpg 2002 Chalk Stones Trail South Downs near West Dean, West Sussex
2002 Three Cairns Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines, IA USA

4 May –
31 October 2004
Andy Goldsworthy on the Roof

(featuring the installation Stone Houses)

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden

New York City, USA

2005 Andy Goldsworthy: Early Works

A national touring exhibition from the Haywood Gallery

England, United Kingdom
2005 Drawn Stone M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

San Francisco

2005 Arches Gibbs Farm
New Zealand
22 January –
15 May 2005
The Andy Goldsworthy Project

(including the installation Roof)

National Gallery of Art

National Mall, Washington, D.C., USA

2006 Red sandstone wall at the Doerr-Hosier Center Aspen Institute

Aspen, Colorado, USA

YSP goldsworthy 07-3.JPG 31 March 2007 –
6 January 2008
Andy Goldsworthy Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, UK

2007 – 2008 Clay Houses (Boulder-Room-Holes) Glenstone

Potomac, Maryland, USA

October 2008 Spire Park Presidio
San Francisco
June 2009 Refuge d’Art Hiking Trail, Provence, France Provence
Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line.jpg 2010-11 Wood Line Park Presidio
San Francisco
Domodeargila.png 7 September 2012 –
2 November 2012
Domo de Argila / Clay Dome Cais do Porto

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2013 Tree Fall Park Presidio
San Francisco
2014 Earth Wall Park Presidio
San Francisco
2019 Walking Wall Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Andy Goldsworthy para niños

Further information


  • SPARK Educator Guide . Andy Goldsworthy at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. (Visual Arts: earthworks). (2005).



  • Rivers and Tides (2001) documentary by Thomas Riedelsheimer
  • Leaning into the Wind (2017) documentary by Thomas Riedelsheimer ()
kids search engine
Andy Goldsworthy Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.