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Robert Smithson Earthworks

Robert Smithson Land Art

Robert Smithson Land Art

What Is Environmental Art

Earthworks Landscape Art.

Environmental Art is art that helps us reconnect back with our Natural Environment.

It helps Us Improve or Relationship with our Natural Environment whether it even may have some kind of political message, personal message about how the artist connects to the Environment, even Awareness into Environmental Issues that maybe direct or indirect to the Natural Lancape/Environment.

The Environmental Art Movement Started in the late 60s early 70s, in its early beginning it was asscociated with Sculpture. Land Art or "Earth Works"

It Took Away from Sales to the Galleries, and gave the Artist more control over there own work and income. It was a way to Rebel against the Gallery System.

Escaping the Confines of a Gallery by leaving the cities and expanding out into fields islands and deserts. Even using The Earth itself to Create Works of Art.

This opened up a whole new notion of how to work with Sculpting and Art. Pushed On systems that where already in place And expanded the Space of Artists .

Some Earthworks or permanent and Damage the natural landscape whereas there where also a lot of semi Permanent Earth Works Created and the only Proof of the art works Are on Film Or In Photography.

Environmental Art also Raised awareness to recycle Materials.

Here is a list of different ways Environmental art Can be defined Into these Catagories

  • Landscape manipulation
  • Intwinement Of human and nature
  • Artists Indivdual relationship to the land
  • Environment as Eco-systems and Socio-Political Realities
  • land as metaphor or signifier

Robert Smithson

Born - 2/1/1938 Died -20/7/1973

Robert Took an Early Interest In art he attended art In Highschool.

Smithson Was one of the Founders Of Earthworks and Land art. His Complex Idea took root in Drawings projects and Proposals,Sculpture, earthworks, Films and critical Writings.he redifined the language of Culture and Challanged traditional categories of Art between the years 1964-1973. Also Smithson Is widely Known for his Earth work "The Spiral Jetty"which he made in 1970.its Located In the Great Salt lakes Utah. He gained International Recognition for his groundbreaking art.

The Earthworks where A Radical Getaway from the Normal setting of a gallery.His goal to Place work in the Land Rather than on the Land. It became part of the landscape and was Permanent. Although He also made semi Permanent Earthworks.Dissatisfied with the status quo Smithson did not limit himself to any one style.Smithson has also said if Art can be about Vision it can also be about Non-vision.Also Entropy was a major theme that consistanly ran through Smithsons Art and writings.he explored Ideas Involving Decay,and renewal chaos and order.

Smithson Developed a Body of Art that engaged Complexities and oppositions,Nature/Culture,Space and time,monuments and anti monuments,displacement and landmark, he also used a lot of mirrors in his monuments.mirrors being a physical mirror but also A reflection.Smithson Also Developed a lot of Photographic Work. Stills of his Earthworks.Nancy Holt Wa Smithson's Wife. and they all Veiwed earthworks and experimented different ideas like what would happen to natural lanscape over time with Heat,Cold,Rains and winds would affect the Earthwork over time.Smithsons Large Earthworks Arent easy to see and not in A traditional Gallery But mainly can Only be viewed by seem that his main purpose was to challenge Traditional Art galleries and Expand to different Avenues of viewing, making Art. That where not taken over by the Gallery world. But he was taking control back over the mainstream Art Galleries.Also Entropy, How Nature will Erode and engage with the lanscape some of the time the Spiral is immersed in the salt lake.

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 "The Spiral Jetty" Great Salt Lake in Utah

"The Spiral Jetty" Great Salt Lake in Utah

The Spiral Jetty

Robert Smithson monumentual Earthwork Is Located on the Great Salt lake in Utah Rozel Point .Using Black Basalt Rocks Salt Crystals and Earth Mud from the Site, The Artisit Created a Coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide that stretches out counterclockwise into the translucent Red water.the fifteen foot wide jetty took several weeks to build.

Spiral Jetty Is Visible when water levels are below approx 4,195 feet. It walks a fine line between nature and the Artificial.But like most land Art The Spiral Jetty is part of the Landscape.It Exist to naturally erode under Natural conditions .The Water levels change.

Smithson Used A contractor and they Used dump Tractors and a large front loader to move 6,650 ton of rock and Earth from the shore to the water.The Giant Spiral Is Large Enough to be seen by taking Photos from Space. He Wanted it too look like it was a growing living Part of the Landscape

I think the Message The Artist Is trying to Convey Is Getting Out of A Traditional Environment ie.. A Gallery or Museum and Pushing on Traditions and Normal Systematic ways of doing things and opening up a whole new way of thinking about art in all its different forms. He made a short film so not to many visitor would go and disturb the environment.and made sure that his Earthwork was documented. The Spiral jetty which was built in 1970 Was made out of rock,Salt and water and mud, the water there is Red due to the mineral in the algae appears with shades of Pinks and Reds. . The Spiral form itself Goes Way back into the American Southwest. and even the Eardrum.I think Being of how Robert Smithson died in An Aeroplane Crash he Was interested in Arial Art. Also As a child robert was an avid Rock Collector and it seems this piece to be very Personal also. In this Paticular Earth Work I think this is based on Entropy.The Eventual exhaustion of any given system. In only a few more decades and the spiral jetty will cease to Exist.Smithson was influenced by Utah's landscape, ecosystem, history and culture in creating the Spiral Jetty.It brings an awareness of the land,

The Spiral Jetty Helicopter

What Approach To Environmental Art do you consider their work to be?

I think this is Definatley Land manipulation and artist Individual Relationship to the Environment. As he loved Arieal Art and Collected Rocks As a Child.Smithson was intrigued with spirals. They filled his notebooks and drawings. The Iconic Spiral Jetty is a message from both the future and a hieroglyph from out of the past. and the legend that the Great Salt Lake was connected to the Pacific Ocean by a whirlpool.Smithson created his earthworks by taking something away or rearranging the natural elements of the landscape to make something new. I think He also Made this to make a lasting name for himself and His Earthwork has been lasted decades and Generations so He is still remembered today. For This Earthwork The Spiral Jetty, As mentioned he had a fascination for Entropy is the principle that in nature, order inevitably breaks down into disorder. This Earth work is not just a representation of entropy. It is entropy.

Broken Circle

Broken Circle

Broken Circle

The broken Circle Is In Emmen, Holland.And was made in the Summer of 1971 with green water, white and yellow sand in a flats diameter of 140' canal, approximately 12' wide depth quarry lake .Its located next to Spiral Hill Another of Robert Smithsons Earth Works. Broken Circle is Another Permanent Earthwork That he has Made. the Boulder In the middle of The Piece is to Remind Us of the Ice Age.The Quarry happened to be on the edge of moraine.During the last Ice Age.

Broken Circle

Smithson Reshaped the landscape in a way that recalled both the forces of nature and ancient archaeological sites.He Wished to make art out of the decay of discarded land at such sites, thereby restoring art to an everyday function within society.

A lot Of Smithson Work Was Based On Entropy .The Eventual exhaustion of any given system.And also getting out of a Gallery Setting. Gives the Artist Freedom to his own right to have more control over who can see his art and also its not confined to an Art gallery or Museum.It also Has A meaning Behind the Broken Cirlce Which Is to Remind Us of The Ice Age.Broken Circle Is formed by two semi-cirlcles which are mirrored or doubled-half on land half on water half jetty,half canal. Alongside this Now Permanent Earthwork Was Another Permanent Landart it was Called Spiral Hill..The Spiral hill Is A spiral on white sand and black topsoil.this work originall was only supposed to be temporary but proved popular everyone voted to keep and preseve it as a Park.Smithsons Works Are pieces Of Infinity.

The Broken Circle Is also Land manipulation and also reminds us of the Ice age.

Smithson Turned Sightseeing into -Site Seeing.

He had a fascination for Entropy is the principle that in nature, order inevitably breaks down into disorder. In 1971 he created Broken Circle for the exhibition The Sonsbeek 1971 Art festival at Emmen.the Netherlans, the Subject of the 71 Sonsbeek Exhibition Was Beyond Lawn And Order.

the cicle is beautiful, even though this is a broken one. I also love the play between the water and the land which creates the sense of positive and negative space. he often created his pieces through reclaiming wasteland spaces.Nancy Colt Robert Smithsons wife collabarated in making the Broken Circle/spiral Hill Film.Robert Smithson Permanent works will be there for years to come but will eventually erroden back into there surroundings.With Broken Circle many said he was WrecKing the Landscape.

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