Robert Smithson

American, 1938–1973

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Robert Smithson

American, 1938–1973

1,160
Followers
Biography

A pivotal figure in the evolution of post-war sculpture, Robert Smithson created iconic Land art that radically changed prevailing ideas about the making and viewing of art. Working with unconventional materials including soil, rocks, disused industrial sites, and language, the artist explored the metaphorical qualities inherent in geological formations and the process of entropy. Smithson originated what he called non-sites, referring to the exhibition of materials that have been removed from their natural geological setting and displayed in a gallery space with documentation of their origins and extraction, such as photographs and maps. His best-known work remains Spiral Jetty (1970), a large basalt formation in the shape of a coil, extending out into the waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$4m, Sotheby's, 2008
User
Solo show at a major institution
MOCA Los Angeles, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 25 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 9 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 4 more
Biography

A pivotal figure in the evolution of post-war sculpture, Robert Smithson created iconic Land art that radically changed prevailing ideas about the making and viewing of art. Working with unconventional materials including soil, rocks, disused industrial sites, and language, the artist explored the metaphorical qualities inherent in geological formations and the process of entropy. Smithson originated what he called non-sites, referring to the exhibition of materials that have been removed from their natural geological setting and displayed in a gallery space with documentation of their origins and extraction, such as photographs and maps. His best-known work remains Spiral Jetty (1970), a large basalt formation in the shape of a coil, extending out into the waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$4m, Sotheby's, 2008
User
Solo show at a major institution
MOCA Los Angeles, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 25 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 9 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 4 more
Shows Featuring Robert Smithson
Articles Featuring Robert Smithson
The Story behind “Sun Tunnels,” Nancy Holt’s Land Art Masterpiece
Oct 1st, 2018
How Art Survives under Authoritarianism
May 19th, 2017
8 Artists Who Went to Extreme Measures for Their Art
Apr 11th, 2016
The 1970s
Aug 11th, 2015
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