Robert Smithson Essay

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Robert Smithson Many artists have found inspiraton in the natural world, only a few have gazed at the earth with a desire to add to it. Among these artists is a man who has revolutionized contemporary art that would bring to question the issues of materials, permanence, function, and presentation( Robert Smithson was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, and ever since childhood, had marveled over the forms of earth and animals. From fascination, grew a talent for art that gained him a scholorship at the Art Students League in New york, where he studied for two years and later became an advocate of abstract expressionism. While Smithson began work as a painter, he later met Nancy Holt, a sculptor who he would eventually marry. Seeing his wife’s love for sculpting, Smithson began to accumulate an interest for the art as well, and soon found himself involved in conceptual art. Drawing from his life long allure to nature, Smithson began using the materials of the land to sculpt what he called his “Earth works” ( materials of the land, such as rock and gravel, Smithson created some of the world’s most famous land art, including the Spiral Jetty in 1970, which is a 15 foot-wide spiral of rocks and debris. In 1973, as smithson was headed to a survey site for his latest work, the Amarillo Ramp, his plane crashed and he was killed at the age of 35. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, is not only his most famous work of art, but also happens to be one of the earliest and most widely known examples of land art. Located in the Great Salt Lake, the Spiral Jetty creates the visualization of spinning while also standing still, which is the natural feeling that Smithson recieved from the lake, and therefore inspired his design. He was drawn to the area because of its beauty and the pinkish red hue color found in the lake. Smithson’s first

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