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Lost Valley Education Center, Dexter, Oregon, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"

A work made of chromogenic print.

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  • A work made of chromogenic print.


April 2004


Joel Sternfeld
American, born 1944

About this artwork


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Joel Sternfeld


Lost Valley Education Center, Dexter, Oregon, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 2004


Chromogenic print


No markings recto or verso Round structures occur in many cultures, from the hogans of the Navajo to the trulli of southern Italy to the krads still constructed in Africa today. Yurts were originally shelters for nomadic peoples living on the grass-covered high plateau of Central Asia. Circularity is universally associated with the sacred—living in or worshipping in a circle is linked with the sun, the full moon, the cycles of the seasons, life. The fact that several yurts are part of the infrastructure of Lost Valley thus seems appropriate, given the cycles of conflict and transformation undergone by the community since its founding in 1989. Today a rural community of about twenty adults, Lost Valley seeks to achieve a balance between a strong ecological focus and a commitment to the functional extended family it hopes to be. However, during the year of 1996, several painful transitions began at Lost Valley—many people left, and friction between old and new members was so high that one resident reported being fearful for his own safety. In the midst of this difficult time, Deborah Riverbend came to Lost Valley and gave a workshop in Naka-Ima, or “Here Now.” Ever since, this philosophy and the very phrase “Here-Now” have become an invocation of a way of being that transformed the community. Lost Valley currently offers workshops in Naka-Ima, which it refers to as “The Heart of Now,” and collectively lives by this principle. Members support one another emotionally, sharing life’s joys and sorrows—and honestly admitting that sometimes it just doesn’t work. From the portfolio, Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, 1982–2005


Image: 26.5 × 33.2 cm (10 7/16 × 13 1/8 in.); Paper: 28 × 35.5 cm (11 1/16 × 14 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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