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Definition: Smithson, Robert from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


US land artist

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, he studied at the Art Students' League (1955-56) and at the Brooklyn Museum School. He took up Minimal Art in the 1960s, but from c.1966 he began to exhibit his "Non-Sites" - maps of sites he had visited, together with samples of rocks and soil. He is best known for such earth works as the Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake, Utah (1970). He was killed in a plane crash in Texas while engaged in aerial photography of one of his earth works.

Summary Article: Smithson, Robert
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

1938–73, American sculptor, b. Passaic, N.J. After first making modular, serial sculpture, Smithson began to design large-scale earthworks (see land art) in the 1960s. Smithson reshaped the landscape in a way that recalled both the forces of nature and ancient archaeological sites. His major works in this mode include the Spiral Jetty (1970; Great Salt Lake, Utah) and Broken Circle and Spiral Hill (both 1971; in a quarry in Holland). His work is represented in the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Smithson died in an airplane crash while overseeing one of his earthworks.

  • See Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (1996, ed. by Flam, J. );.
  • Robert Smithson (2004), comprehensive retrospective ed. by Tsai, E. ;.
  • studies by R. C. Hobbs (1981 and 1983), E. Tsai (1991), G. Shapiro (1995), A. Reynolds (2003), R. Graziani (2004), and J. L. Roberts (2004).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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