Robert Smithson is the first comprehensive American retrospective of the complex and highly influential career of artist Robert Smithson (1938–73). Best known as the creator of Spiral Jetty (1970), a 1,500-foot-long rock coil that stretches into Utah’s Great Salt Lake, Smithson had a profound impact on contemporary art and culture in the 1960s before his death in a plane crash at the age of 35. He utilized nontraditional art materials, such as language, mirrors, maps, dump trucks, abandoned quarries, hotels, contractors, and earth, to produce his sculptures, photographs, films, paintings, works on paper, essays, and earthworks—an art form he pioneered, in which monumental structures made of natural materials are inseparable from their remote outdoor sites. Exploring Smithson’s work within the context of the artistic climate of the late 1960s as well as ensuing decades, the exhibition features over 150 works created between 1955 and 1973.
Robert Smithson is organized by Eugenie Tsai, MOCA Ahmanson Curatorial Fellow, in association with MOCA Curator Connie Butler.