Robert Smithson

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Transcript Robert Smithson

“For over thirty years and at the onset of the
21st Century, Robert Smithson remains one
of the most influential and original artists
whose voice has had a major impact on
artists of his generation, and continues to do
so today. His complex ideas took root in
many forms: drawings, projects and
proposals, sculpture, earthworks, films and
critical writings. Smithson's provocative and
seminal works, made in the mid-sixties to
early seventies, redefined the language of
-The official Site of Robert
• Born in 1938 in New Jersey
• Went to art school in New York
• Studied drawing and painting
• Many of his early works were influenced
by magazines, science fiction and early
pop art.
Biography cont.
• Smithson became associated with the
minimalist movement, and soon became
interested in the connection between
land and art.
• Artists such as Sam Durant, Lee
Ranaldo, and Mike Nelson were
influenced and inspired by Smithson’s
• Died July 20th, 1973
Solo Exhibitions
- He has had many solo exhibitions all
over the world, Including:
- 1966, Dwan Gallery in New York
- 1980, Centre d’art contemporain in
Geneva Switzerland
- 1996, Galleria Emi Fontana in Milan
Group Exhibitions
• Smithson has been apart of numerous
group exhibitions including,
– 1970, Against Order, Chance and Art,
Institute of Contemporary Art,Philadelphia
– 1980, Watermarks, Scottish Arts Council
Touring Exhibition by RobertCallendar &
Elizabeth Olgilvie
– 2008, The Sublime is Now, La Galleria
Civica di Modena, Modena, Italy (film,
Spiral Jetty)
Spiral Jetty
• Considered Smithson’s most famous work of
• Constructed in 1970
• In Salt Lake City, Utah. In the Great Salt Lake
• It is only visible when the water level drops (or
is low) and can be seen from aircraft or even
outter space.
• Smithson reportedly chose the Rozel site
because of the red color of the water, and it’s
connection to the primordial sea.
• The red hue of the water is due to the
presence of salt tolerant bacteria and algae.
Spiral Jetty Cont.
• his monumental earthwork was inspired in
part when Smithson saw the Great Serpent
Mound, a Pre-Columbian Indian monument in
southwestern Ohio.
• Since he was one of the “founders” of
earthwork, this piece embodied his ideas
about earthworks because it was IN the earth
rather than on the earth
Spiral Jetty
• spiral jetty
Other Works
“Blind in the Valley
of Suicides”
• Smithson’s Spiral Jetty preservation
is/was funded by Dia Art Foundation.
• Many museums all over the world fund
Robert Smithson exhibitions and hold
them to very high regard.
• The term earthworks wouldn’t be what it
is today without Smithson.
• The official Robert Smithson website: