- Robert Smithson
Robert Smithson (
January 2, 1938– July 20, 1973) was an American artistfamous for his land art.
Background and education
Smithson was born in Passaic,
New Jerseyand studied painting and drawing in New York Cityat the Art Students League of New York.
His early exhibited artworks were
collageworks influenced by " homoeroticdrawings and clippings from beefcake magazines" harv | Kimmelman | 2005 , science fiction, and early Pop Art. He primarily identified himself as a painter during this time, but after a three year rest from the art world, Smithson emerged in 1964 as a proponent of the emerging minimalist movement. His new work abandoned the preoccupation with the body that had been common in his earlier work. Instead he began to use glass sheet and neonlighting tubes to explore visual refraction and mirroring, in particular the sculpture "Enantiomorphic Chambers". Crystallinestructures and the concept of entropybecame of particular interest to him, and informed a number of sculptures completed during this period, including "Alogon 2". Smithson became affiliated with artists who were identified with the minimalistor Primary Structures movement, such as Nancy Holt(whom he married), Robert Morris and Sol Lewitt. As a writer, Smithson was interested in applying mathematical impersonality to art that he outlined in essays and reviews for "Arts Magazine" and " Artforum" and for a period was better known as a critic than as an artist. Some of Smithson's later writings recovered 18th- and 19th-century conceptions of landscape architecturewhich influenced the pivotal earthwork explorations which characterized his later work. He eventually joined the Dwan Gallery, whose owner Virginia Dwan was an enthusiastic supporter of his work.
In 1967 Smithson began exploring industrial areas around
New Jerseyand was fascinated by the sight of dump trucks excavating tons of earth and rock that he described in an essay as the equivalents of the monuments of antiquity. This resulted in the series of 'non-sites' in which earth and rocks collected from a specific area are installed in the gallery as sculptures, often combined with mirrors or glass. In September 1968, Smithson published the essay "A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects" in "Artforum" that promoted the work of the first wave of land artartist and in 1969 he began producing land art pieces to further explore concepts gained from his readings of William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and George Kubler.
As well as works of art, Smithson produced a good deal of theoretical and critical writing, including the 2D paper work "A Heap of Language", which sought to show how writing might become an artwork. In his essay "Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan" [harv | Smithson | 1969 ,] Smithson documents a series of temporary sculptures made with mirrors at particular locations around the
Yucatan peninsula. Part travelogue, part critical rumination, the article highlights Smithson's concern with the temporalas a cornerstone of his work.
Smithson's interest in the
temporalis explored in his writings in part through the recovery of the ideas of the picturesque. His essay "Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape" was written in 1973 after Smithson had seen an exhibition curated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogersat the Whitney Museumentitled “Frederick Law Olmsted’s New York” as the cultural and temporal context for the creation of his late-19th-century design for Central Park. In examining the photographs of the land set aside to become Central Park, Smithson saw the barren landscape that had been degraded by humans before Olmsted constructed the complex ‘naturalistic’ landscape that was viscerally apparent to New Yorkers in the 1970s. Smithson was interested in challenging the prevalent conception of Central Parkas an outdated 19th-century Picturesque aesthetic in landscape architecture that had a static relationship within the continuously evolving urban fabric of New York City. In studying the writings of 18th- and 19th-century Picturesque treatise writers Gilpin, Price, Knight and Whately, Smithson recovers issues of site specificity and human intervention as dialectic landscape layers, experiential multiplicity, and the value of deformations manifest in the Picturesquelandscape.
Smithson further implies in this essay that what distinguishes the
Picturesqueis that it is based on real land [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 160 .] For Smithson, a park exists as “a process of ongoing relationships existing in a physical region” [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 160 .] Smithson was interested in Central Parkas a landscape which by the 1970s had weathered and grown as Olmsted’s creation, but was layered with new evidence of human intervention. quote|Now the Ramble has grown up into an urban jungle, and lurking in its thickets are “hoods, hobos, hustlers, and homosexuals,” and other estranged creatures of the city…. Walking east, I passed graffition boulders… On the base of the Obeliskalong with the hieroglyphs there are also graffiti. …In the spillway that pours out of the Wollman Memorial Ice Rink, I noticed a metal grocery cart and a trash basket half-submerged in the water. Further down, the spillway becomes a brook choked with mud and tin cans. The mud then spews under the Gapstow Bridgeto become a muddy slough that inundates a good part of The Pond, leaving the rest of The Pond aswirl with oil slicks, sludge, and Dixie cups” [harv | Smithson | 1996 | pp = 169–170 . ] While Smithson did not find “beauty” in the evidence of abuse and neglect, he did see the state of things as demonstrative of the continually transforming relationships between man and landscape. In his proposal to make process artout of the dredging of The Pond, Smithson sought to insert himself into the dynamic evolution of the park [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 170 .]
Smithson became particularly interested in the notion of deformities within the spectrum of anti-aesthetic
dynamicrelationships which he saw present in the Picturesquelandscape. He claimed, “the best sites for ‘earth art’ are sites that have been disrupted by industry, reckless urbanization, or nature’s own devastation” [(Flam 165).] Fact|date=July 2008 While in earlier 18th-century formal characterizations of the pastoraland the sublime, something like a “gash in the ground” if encountered by a “leveling improver”, as described by Price, would have been smoothed over and the whole composition returned to a more aesthetically pleasing contour [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 159 .] For Smithson, however, it was not necessary that the deformation become a visual aspect of a landscape; by his anti-formalist logic, more important was the temporal scar worked over by natural or human intervention. He saw parallels to Olmsted's Central Park as a “sylvan” green overlay on the depleted landscape that preceded his Central Park [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 158 .] Defending himself against allegations that he and other earth artists “cut and gouge the land like Army engineers”, Smithson, in his own essay, charges that one of such opinions “failed to recognize the possibility of a direct organic manipulation of the land..” and would “turn his back on the contradictions that inhabit our landscapes” [harv | Smithson | 1996 | p = 163 .]
In revisiting the 18th- and early 19th-century treatises of the
Picturesque, which Olmstedinterpreted in his practice, Smithson exposes threads of an anti-aesthetic anti-formalist logic and a theoretical framework of the Picturesque that addressed the dialecticbetween the physical landscape and its temporal context. By re-interpreting and re-valuing these treatises, Smithson was able to broaden the temporal and intellectual context for his own work, and to offer renewed meaning for Central Park as an important work of modern artand landscape architecture.
Other theoretical writings explore the relationship of a piece of art to its environment, from which he developed his concept of "sites" and "non-sites". A "site" was a work located in a specific outdoor location, while a "non-site" was a work which could be displayed in any suitable space, such as an
art gallery. "Spiral Jetty" is an example of a sited work, while Smithson's non-site pieces frequently consist of photographs of a particular location, often exhibited alongside some material (such as stones or soil) removed from that location.
The journeys he undertook were central to his practice as an artist, and his non-site sculptures often included maps and aerial photos of a particular location, as well as the geological artifacts displaced from those sites. In 1970 at
Kent State University, Smithson created " Partially Buried Woodshed" to illustrate geological time consuming human history. His most famous work is " Spiral Jetty" (1970), a convert|1500|ft|m|sing=on long spiral-shaped jettyextending into the Great Salt Lakein Utahconstructed from rocks, earth, and salt. It was entirely submerged by rising lake waters for several years, but has since re-emerged. The lake waters may be pinkish due to high concentrations of β-carotenein the halophyte green alga" Dunaliella salina".
July 20, 1973, Smithson died in a plane crash, while surveying sites for his work "Amarillo Ramp" in Texas. Despite his early death, and relatively few surviving major works, Smithson has a cult following amongst many contemporary artists. In recent years, Tacita Dean, Sam Durant, Lee Ranaldo, Vik Munizand Mike Nelson have all made homages to Smithson's works.
* | isbn = 0-87982-007-1 .
2 June 2007.
* oclc|1514329 .
* [http://www.robertsmithson.com www.robertsmithson.com]
* [http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/extra_terrestrial/ 'Extra Terrestrial' - a 1993 monograph from frieze]
* [http://scenicutah.com/spiral-jetty/robertsmithson.php Pictures of Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty"] .
* [http://renaissancesociety.org/site/Exhibitions/Intro.126.96.36.199.0.html Robert Smithson exhibition at
The Renaissance Society, 1976] .
* [http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2005/07/negotiations_4_.html Smithson Sightings] Short essay on Smithson by Timothy Don of [http://3quarksdaily.com "3 Quarks Daily"] .
* [http://www.haberarts.com/smithson.htm Robert Smithson and "Floating Island"] , by
* [http://www.haberarts.com/nonsite.htm Nonsite from Smithson to New Media] , by
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/us/27spiral.html?ref=arts Plans to Mix Oil Drilling and Art Clash in Utah] , article by Kirk Johnson in the
New York Times, 27 March 2008.
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Robert Smithson — (* 2. Januar 1938 in Passaic, New Jersey; † 20. Juli 1973 in New Mexico) war ein US amerikanischer Maler und Land Art Künstler. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werk 3 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Robert Smithson — (2 janvier 1938 – 20 juillet 1973), considéré comme le théoricien du Land Art[réf. nécessaire], est un artiste contemporain dont la production pourrait être liée entre autres à l art minimal et au Land Art. Smithson est né au New Jersey. Il… … Wikipédia en Français
Robert Smithson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Spiral Jetty Robert Smithson (Nueva Jersey, 2 de enero de 1938 – 20 de julio de 1973) fue un artista contemporáneo del movimiento llamado Land Art. Estudió … Wikipedia Español
Amarillo Ramp (For Robert Smithson) — Infobox Album Name = Amarillo Ramp (For Robert Smithson) Type = studio Artist = Lee Ranaldo Released = 2000 Recorded = Genre = Noise music Length = 52:23 Label = Starlight Furniture Producer = Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|4|5… … Wikipedia
SMITHSON (R.) — SMITHSON ROBERT (1938 1973) Artiste américain, originaire du New Jersey, Robert Smithson est un des représentants majeurs du Land Art, mouvement apparu aux États Unis vers 1967. Comme C. Andre, R. Serra ou R. Morris, ses contemporains, il se… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Smithson — is a common English and American surname that may refer to:*Alison and Peter Smithson, British architects *Forrest Smithson, American athlete *Gerald Smithson, English cricketer *Harriet Smithson, actor and wife of Hector Berlioz *Henrietta… … Wikipedia
Smithson — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alison Smithson (1928–1993), britische Architektin Forrest Smithson (1881–1962), US amerikanischer Leichtathlet James Smithson (1765–1829), britischer Mineraloge und Chemiker Jerred Smithson (* 1979),… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Smithson, Robert — ▪ American sculptor and writer born Jan. 2, 1938, Passaic, N.J., U.S. died July 20, 1973, Amarillo, Texas American sculptor and writer associated with the Land Art movement. His large scale sculptures, called Earthworks, engaged directly… … Universalium
Smithson — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Robert Smithson(1938 – 1973), artiste Jerred Smithson (1979 ), joueur de hocket sur glace canadien. Smithson Tennant (1761 1815), chimiste britannique.… … Wikipédia en Français
Smithson — [ smɪθsn], 1) James, eigentlich J. Lewis (Louis) Macie [ meɪsi], britischer Chemiker und Mineraloge, * in Frankreich 1765, ✝ Genua 27. 6. 1829; Privatgelehrter; untersuchte v. a. Farbstoffe sowie Blei und Zinkminerale; stiftete die… … Universal-Lexikon