Topics in American Art since 1945

By Lawrence Alloway | Go to book overview

ROBERT SMITHSON'S
DEVELOPMENT

Smithson's sculpture of 1964-68 is regarded as belonging with Minimal art, but this view needs qualification, partly because of the way in which his later development throws retroactive light on earlier pieces. The reason for linking him with Minimal art is not hard to find: he made the connection himself. In an article of 1966, for example, he writes particularly about Flavin, Judd, LeWitt, and Morris 1. and in 1968 discusses the writings of Andre, Flavin, Judd, LeWitt, Morris, and Ad Reinhardt. 2. These names do not exhaust his references, but they amount to a primary emphasis. Aside from the evidence of his interests and associates, what about the style of his work in relation to the requirements of Minimal art? The canon certainly required a sculpture of neutral units, either modular or monolithic. Another expectation was inertness, a denial of visual animation and contrast. A third factor, proposed by Lucy Lippard, was the desire of the artists to "compete visually with their non-art surroundings" by means of "projects that would in fact create a new landscape made of sculpture rather than decorated by sculpture." 3. Whether this environmental impulse belongs properly to Minimal art can be contested if, as Lippard suggests, it begins with "Tony Smith's long visualized 'artificial landscapes without cultural precedent.' " 4. Actually Smith makes big sculptures, sometimes at architectural scale, but their solid fabrication separates them fundamentally from the concept of a "landscape made of sculpture." Lippard's extrapolation of Minimal art to Earthworks is problematic in

____________________
SOURCE: From Artforum, XI/3 (November, 1973), 52-61.
1.
Robert Smithson, "Entropy and the New Monuments," Artforum, June, 1966, pp. 26-31.
2.
Robert Smithson, "A Museum of Language in the Vicinity of Art," Art International, March, 1968, pp. 21-27.
3.
Lucy Lippard, "10 Structurists in 20 Paragraphs," Minimal Art, Haags Gemeentemuseum, 1968, p. 30.
4.
Ibid.

-221-

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Topics in American Art since 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Topics in American Art Since 1945 *
  • Contents 7
  • List of Illustrations 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Acknowledgments 13
  • Abstract Expressionism 15
  • The Biomorphic '40s 17
  • Melpomene and Graffiti - Adolph Gottlieb's Early Work 25
  • The American Sublime 31
  • Barnett Newman - The Stations of the Cross and the Subjects of the Artist 42
  • Jackson Pollock's Black Paintings 52
  • Jackson Pollock's "Psychoanalytic Drawings" 58
  • Willem De Kooning 62
  • The Sixties, I - Hard Edge and Systems 65
  • Leon Polk Smith 67
  • Systemic Painting 76
  • Serial Forms 92
  • Sol Lewitt 96
  • Agnes Martin - (with an Appendix) 100
  • Gesture into Form - The Later Paintings of Norman Bluhm 111
  • The Sixties, II - Pop Art 117
  • Pop Art - The Words 119
  • Jim Dine 123
  • Rauschenberg's Graphics 125
  • Jasper Johns' Map 136
  • Marilyn as Subject Matter 140
  • Roy Lichtenstein's Period Style 145
  • The Reuben Gallery - A Chronology 151
  • In Place 155
  • The Sixties, III - Problems of Representation 161
  • Hi-Way Culture - (with Notes on Alan D'Arcangelo) 163
  • Art as Likeness - (with a Note on Post-Pop Art) 171
  • George Segal 182
  • Photo-Realism 185
  • Art and Interface 193
  • Allan Kaprow, Two Views 195
  • Artists and Photographs 201
  • The Expanding and Disappearing Work of Art 207
  • Stolen - (with Arakawa: an Interview) 213
  • Radio City Music Hall 218
  • Robert Smithson's Development 221
  • Art Criticism and Society 237
  • Notes on Op Art 239
  • The Public Sculpture Problem 245
  • The Uses and Limits of Art Criticism 251
  • Index 271
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