Robert Smithson

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In the 1960s and 1970s Land Art was established in the United States using inspiration from the minimalistic style that was very popular in the 1960s. Land Art, also called Earthworks, is an interaction and study of the natural elements and manmade art.3 One of the most well known and originators of Earthworks is Robert Smithson. Smithson created many inspirational pieces, which have lasted throughout the years, not only through land art but also with drawings, sculptures, films and writings.

Robert Smithson was born on January 2, 1938 in Passaic, New Jersey. He grew up there and went to a public school. As a child he was very interested in nature; he collected fossils and reptiles and took mean trips to the New York Museum of Natural History during his high school years.2 When Smithson was in high school he received a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York because of his artistic talent. After studying there, he spent two years studying at the Brooklyn Museum School. While he was there he developed skills in abstract expressionism.1

Smithson created paintings in the late 1950s that reflected his interest in creating conflict through the viewer’s beliefs; he often used “themes of the celestial and the demonic, the earthly and the spiritual, the sacred and the profane” to create underlying tension in his work.2 During his process of painting he started to shift to a more minimalistic style of art. A fellow minimalist artist Nancy Holt, who used her interest in biology to create sculptures, suggested to Smithson that he too should use sculpture to show his interest in natural history.

In 1963 Smithson married Nancy Holt; she encouraged his art to experiment with different mediums. Enantiamorphic Chamb...

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...ate; the work that could have been made would have had an even greater effect on today’s communities. Though he has been gone for many years there are still people all around the world to this day looking at his work whether it is photos and painting in museums or the sculptures and earthworks that he spent his life creating. Robert Smithson made a tremendous impact on today’s world.

Works Cited

1) "Biography." Robert Smithson A Tribute. , 2004. Web. 25 Sep 2011. .

2) Gale, Thomson. "Robert Smithson Biography." Book Rags. BookRags, Inc. , 2011. Web. 25 Sep 2011. .

3) Goldberg, Elyse. "Introduction to Robert Smithson." Robert Smithson . James Cohan Gallery, n.d. Web. 25 Sep 2011. .

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