Oral history interview with Robert Smithson, 1972 July 14-19
Smithson, Robert, 1938-1973
Cummings, Paul, 1933-
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New York (State)
Transcript: 29 pages.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformated in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr.
Access Note / Rights:
Partial transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Robert Smithson conducted 1972 July 14-19, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Interview of Robert Smithson conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art, at 799 Greenwich Street in New York on July 14 and 19 1972. Smithson speaks of growing up in Passaic, New Jersey; primary and high school; high school art education; going to New York Museums; writing and its impact on art work; the Artists Gallery; the Art Students League; his time in the army; the Cedar Bar; Quicksand; the Museum of Modern Art; art education; Sam Smithson; his father; traveling the U.S.; Brooklyn Museum School; impact of the Museum of Natural History; moving to New York; visiting Europe; psychology; show at the George Lester Gallery; the Broken Circle; Dallas-Fort Worth Airport; crystalline structures; meeting William Carlos Williams; cosmology; Enantiomorphic Chambers; mapping; painting and drawing; the Dwan Gallery; getting married; Aerial Art; earthworks; sculpture; the Cryosphere; Alogon; Rome; stratas; nonsites; When Attitudes Become Form; Attitudes; mining sites and quarries; light and reflection; the Spiral Jetty; coordination of large works; documentation; selection of sites; Gyrostasis; weather's impact and seasonal change of the Spiral Jetty; confines of the gallery and museum; mirrors; landscapes; artist materials; art education; traveling; art and vacations; documenta; Smithson also recalls Federica Beer-Monti , Hugh Stix , Danny Donohue, Joe Levin, Charlie Hasloff, John Cassavetes , Alan Brilliant, Irving Sandler, Barnett Newman, Dick Bellamy, Beauvais, John Groth, Lawrence Alloway, T. S. Elliot, Donald Judd, William Carlos Williams, Jackson Pollock, William Borroughs, Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin, Virginia Dwan, Borges, Rosalind Krauss, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Robert Smithson, 1972 July 14-19. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Robert Smithson (1938-1973) was a sculptor and lecturer.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001