Robert Smithson Retrospective

Begin Date2005-01-16
End Date2005-04-03
CuratorsCharles Wylie, Suzanne Weaver
Last Harvested At2022-10-29
Credit LineThe exhibition was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of the Ahmanson Foundation through the Ahmanson Curatorial Fellowship. Major support for the exhibition has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and Altria Group, Inc. Exhibition support in Dallas provided by Altria Group, Inc., the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Naomi Aberly and Laurence Lebowitz, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and the Donor Circle Membership Program with leadership gifts by Laura and Walter Elcock, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, and The Fund for the Encouragement of Informed Risk Taking. Promotional support provided by The Dallas Morning News. Additional support provided by the Barbara and Fred Kort Family Foundation in honor of Tom Unterman; Dwell; the Fifth Floor Foundation; and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.
LocationBarrel Vault and Hanley, Lamont, Rachofsky, and Stoffel Galleries
OrganizerMuseum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
DescriptionThe retrospective features more than 130 objects including sculpture, paintings, works on paper, essays and manuscripts, photographs and films made between 1955 and 1973. An important component to the exhibition will be film, photo-documentation and drawings related to Smithson's most famous work, "Spiral Jetty" (1970), a 1,500 foot long and 15 foot wide rock coil that extends into the Great Salt Lake in Utah. "Robert Smithson is increasingly being seen as one of the most influential American artists of the late 20th century," said Charles Wylie, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, who, with Suzanne Weaver, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, coordinated the Dallas installation of the exhibition. "Although his life was cut short by his untimely death in a plane crash near Amarillo at the age of 35, Smithson's career was distinguished and highly important. His art and writings define key issues of the 1960s and 1970s and remain relevant - even inspirational - to younger artists today," Weaver added. Works by Smithson in the exhibition will range from a selection of paintings and drawings featuring symbolic imagery, word drawings, collages and cartouches made early in his career between 1955 and 1963, to dazzling mirrored wall and floor structures such as "Mirrors and Shelly Sand" (1969-1970) from the Dallas Museum of Art's collections. Key works in the exhibition produced in 1966 include "Alogon #2," "Glass Stratum," "Untitled (science fiction landscape)," "Monument for the Red Sea," and "A Heap of Language." In 1966, Smithson began experimenting with the ideas of landscape, specific sites and mapping when he was commissioned to develop a project for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. His use of topographic maps from that project evolved into a body of works based on maps and mapping, which also encompasses art institutions, notably museums. The exhibition explores four themes contained in Smithson's work: landscape, language, the monument and the site. Each theme is associated with different periods in the artist's career. The exhibition also focuses on Smithson's fascination with nature's tendency toward increasing disorder or randomness - what is defined broadly as entropy - and with the entropic landscape, which evokes the primordial past as well as the science-fiction future. "Robert Smithson" was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, with Suzanne Weaver and Charles Wylie as organizing curators in Dallas.