Saturday, January 2, 2010
ROBERT SMITHSON b JANUARY 2 1938
"Words and rocks contain a language that follows a syntax of splits and ruptures. Look at any word long enough and you will see it open up into a series of faults, into a terrain of particles each containing its own void. This discomforting language of fragmentation offers no easy gestalt solution; the certainties of didactic discourse are hurled into the erosion of the poetic principle."
i argued for a long time that picasso & duchamp owned the early 20th century & that pollock & warhol owned that last half. however, i've always been open to arguments that smithson & matta-clark are the key to the last half of the 20th century or maybe the gateways to the 21st.
on one of my driving trips across america(i've made five), i drove out to his great work, the spiral jetty. it wasn't easy or particularly negotiable but when i got out there, i didn't SEE anything, even when i was where i was supposed to be. the various forces of nature had submerged the construct.
now, it may stem from me being from the gulf coast where nothing remains the same but i didn't feel cheated. i knew the damned thing was out there. i knew that it had become an element in the natural progression of things. oddly, i had a feeling it would return. it did too. sometime during the early 2000s, the jetty came to the surface again.
i don't think we're done w/what these artists had to give us. their refusal of the museum & "connoisseur" art, their commitment to construction, & their acknowledgement of natural process is significant beyond the fundamental appeal of their art.
directions to the jetty.