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Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers

Creator:
Smithson, Robert  Search this
Names:
Dwan Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art  Search this
Andre, Carl, 1935-  Search this
Atkinson, Terry, 1939-  Search this
Dibbets, Jan, 1941-  Search this
Dwan, Virginia  Search this
Flavin, Dan, 1933-  Search this
Graham, Dan, 1942-  Search this
Haacke, Hans, 1936-  Search this
Heizer, Michael, 1944-  Search this
Holt, Nancy, 1938-  Search this
Insley, Will, 1929-2011  Search this
Jenney, Neil, 1945-  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007  Search this
Lippard, Lucy R.  Search this
Long, Richard, 1945-  Search this
Oppenheim, Dennis, 1938-2011  Search this
Valledor, Leo  Search this
Wheeler, Dennis  Search this
Extent:
15.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Greeting cards
Photographs
Transcripts
Motion pictures (visual works)
Date:
1905-1987
bulk 1952-1987
Summary:
The papers of sculptor, writer, and earthworks artist Robert Smithson and his wife, sculptor, filmmaker, and earthworks artist Nancy Holt measure 15.1 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1952 to 1987. The papers consist of Smithson's biographical material; business and personal correspondence, much of it with artists; interview transcripts; extensive writings and project files; financial records; printed material; a scrapbook of clippings; holiday cards with original prints and sketches; photographic material; and artifacts. Also found are project files related to Nancy Holt's motion picture film Pine Barrens and her seminal environmental work of art Sun Tunnels, including a video documentary about Sun Tunnels.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of sculptor, writer, and earthworks artist Robert Smithson and his wife, sculptor, filmmaker, and earthworks artist Nancy Holt measure 15.1 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1952 to 1987. The papers consist of Smithson's biographical material; business and personal correspondence, much of it with artists; interview transcripts; extensive writings and project files; financial records; printed material; a scrapbook of clippings; holiday cards with original prints and sketches; photographic material; and artifacts. Also found are project files related to Nancy Holt's film Pine Barrens and her seminal environmental work of art Sun Tunnels, including a video documentary about Sun Tunnels.

Biographical material includes Robert Smithson's curriculum vitae, personal identification and medical documents, eight engagement/day planners Smithson and Holt maintained from 1966 to 1973, and Smithson's funeral register.

Correspondence is primarily with Smithson's family, friends, fellow artists, and business associates discussing personal relationships, proposed art projects, and exhibitions. Correspondents of note include Carl Andre, the Dwan Gallery (Virginia Dwan), Dan Graham, Will Insley, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy Kepes, Sol Lewitt, Lucy Lippard, and Dennis Wheeler. There is also substantial correspondence received by Holt upon Smithson's death in 1973, and between Holt and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art regarding Smithson's retrospective exhibition in 1982.

There are nine interview transcripts with Smithson discussing his works and his general philosophy on art, and one transcript of the Andrew Dickson White Museum's Earth Art Symposium (1969) featuring the following artists: Mike Hiezer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Neil Jenney, Gunther Uecker, Jan Dibbets, Richard Long, and Hans Haacke.

Writings are substantial and include 73 drafts of published and unpublished essays by Smithson on art, artists, and works in progress. The series also includes poems by Smithson, six notebooks containing notes and sketches by Smithson, and drafts of writings sent to Smithson and Holt by friends and colleagues, including Carl Andre, Terry Atkinson, Dan Flavin, Dan Graham, and Jack Thibeau.

Project files contain correspondence, project instructions, diagrams and sketches, research materials, photographic material, and maps related to over 50 of Smithson's artworks. These include concepts, proposed projects, sculptures, non-sites, and earthwork projects, including Spiral Jetty, Broken Circle, and Spiral Hill.

Personal business records include gallery related loan arrangements and receipts for miscellaneous art supplies. Financial records include tax forms and preparation documents, including cancelled checks, receipts, statements, and related correspondence.

Printed materials include books, clippings, and periodicals related to Smithson, either containing writings or sketches by him, or containing articles reviewing his work. There are also exhibition announcements and catalogs of Smithson's group and solo shows from 1959 to 1985.

The scrapbook contains clippings of Smithson's published articles from 1966 to 1973 with annotated shorthand notes.

Artwork consists of Christmas cards collaged by Smithson, and sketches by Smithson and Leo Valledor.

Photographic materials include prints and negatives of Smithson with friends, promotional Hollywood movie stills, and original prints and copyprints of other artists' artwork.

Artifacts consist of a paper bag silkscreened with a Campbell's soup can (Warhol), promotional buttons (N.E. Thing Co.), various organic materials, and two art kits.

Nancy Holt's papers consist of correspondence, a grant application, printed materials, and project files and audio visual material related to her motion picture film Pine Barrens (1975) and her seminal environmental work of art Sun Tunnels (1975).
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 13 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1905-1974 (Box 1; 14 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1959-1987 (Boxes 1-2, OV 21; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Interview Transcripts, 1966-1973 (Box 2; 11 folders)

Series 4: Writings, 1959-1975 (Boxes 2-3; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 5: Project Files, circa 1950s-1982 (Boxes 4-5, Boxes 17-18, OV 20, OV 22-26, OV 36, RD 28-30, RD 32-35; 6.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Personal Business Records, circa 1967-1970s (Box 5; 4 folders)

Series 7: Financial Records, 1962-1972 (Box 6; 1 linear foot)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1955-1985 (Boxes 7-11, Box 18, RD 31; 5.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Scrapbook, 1966-1973 (Box 11, Box 16; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 10: Artwork, circa 1950s-1970s (Box 11; 4 folders)

Series 11: Photographs, circa 1950s-1970s (Box 11, Box 18; 5 folders)

Series 12: Artifacts, circa 1950s-1970s (Box 11, Box 14, OV 19; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 13: Nancy Holt Papers, circa 1960s-1980s (Box 12-13, 15, OV 27, FC 37-38; 1.9 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Robert Smithson (1938-1973) was the pioneer of land and earthworks art. He was also a noted sculptor, painter, writer, and lecturer working primarily in New York City. Smithson's wife, Nancy Holt (1938-) was a noted sculptor and filmmaker and also worked as an earthworks artist.

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, Smithson expressed an early interest in art, enrolling in classes at the Brooklyn Museum School and the Art Student's League in New York while still attending high school. Smithson's early works were primarily paintings, drawings, and collages. In 1959, he exhibited his first solo show of paintings at the Artists' Gallery in New York and had his first solo international show in Rome with the Galleria George Lester in 1961.

During the early to mid-1960s, Smithson was perhaps better known as a writer and art critic, writing numerous essays and reviews for Arts Magazine and Artforum. He became affiliated with artists who were identified with the minimalist movement, such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Nancy Holt, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris and others. In 1963, Smithson married sculptor and filmmaker Nancy Holt and a year later started to create his first sculptural works. In 1966, Smithson joined the Dwan Gallery, whose owner Virginia Dwan was an enthusiastic supporter of his work.

Smithson's interest in land art began in the late 1960s while exploring industrial and quarry sites and observing the movement of earth and rocks. This resulted in a series of sculptures called "non-sites" consisting of earth and rocks collected from a specific site and installed in gallery space, often combined with photographs, maps, mirrors, or found materials. In September 1968, Smithson published the essay "A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects" in Artforum that promoted the work of the first wave of land art artists. Soon thereafter, he began creating his own large scale land art and earthworks.

From 1967 to 1973, Smithson's productivity was constant as he wrote, lectured, and participated in several solo and group shows a year, both at home and abroad. He explored narrative art as essay in "The Monuments of Passaic" and fully committed to his idea of visiting sites and using them as the basis for creating non-sites, Non-Site, Pine Barrens, (1968); incorporated and documented the use of mirrors at sites in Mirror Displacement, Cayuga Salt Mine Project (1968-1969); and created his first site-specific works through liquid pours of mud, asphalt, and concrete, including Asphalt Rundown (1969). In 1969, he also completed his first earth pour at Kent State University with his project Partially Buried Woodshed. Later that year, he created the sculptural artwork for which he is best known, Spiral Jetty (1969) on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. This was the first of his pieces to require the acquisition of land rights and earthmoving equipment, and would be followed two years later by Broken Circle and Spiral Hill in 1971.

On July 20, 1973, while surveying sites in Texas for the proposed Amarillo Ramp, Smithson died in a plane crash at the age of 35. Despite his early death, Smithson's writings and artwork had a major impact on many contemporary artists.

Nancy Holt began her career as a photographer and video artist. Today, Holt is most widely known for her large-scale environmental works, Sun Tunnels and Dark Star Park. Holt has also made a number of films and videos since the late 1960s, including Mono Lake (1968), East Coast, West Coast (1969), and Swamp (1971) in collaboration with her late husband Robert Smithson. Points of View: Clocktower (1974) features conversations between Lucy Lippard and Richard Serra, Liza Bear and Klaus Kertess, Carl Andre and Ruth Kligman and Bruce Brice and Tina Girouard. In 1978, she produced a film about her seminal work Sun Tunnels.
Related Material:
The Archives also holds several collections related to Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, including an oral history interview with Robert Smithson conducted by Paul Cummings in 1972; an interview with Robert Smithson conducted by Tony Robbin in 1968; Robert Smithson letters to George B. Lester, 1960-1963; and oral history interviews with Nancy Holt conducted by Scott Gutterman in 1992 and Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz in 1993.
Separated Material:
Non-archival library books, periodicals, and phonographs from Robert Smithson's personal library are currently stored offsite.
Provenance:
The papers of Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt were donated by Nancy Holt in several accretions between 1986 and 2011.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Earthworks (Art)  Search this
Filmmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sketches
Scrapbooks
Greeting cards
Photographs
Transcripts
Motion pictures (visual works)
Citation:
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers, 1905-1987, bulk 1952-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.smitrobe
See more items in:
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-smitrobe
Additional Online Media:

Robin Redbreast's territory/sculpture 1969 : April-June = Domaine d'un rouge-gorge/sculpture 1969 : avril-juin = Rotkehlchenterritorium/Skulptur 1969 : April-Juni / Jan Dibbets

Title:
Roodborst territorium/sculptuur 1969
Domaine d'un rouge-gorge/sculpture 1969
Rotkehlchenterritorium/Skulptur 1969
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Siegelaub, Seth 1941-2013  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
[30] p. : ill., maps ; 19 cm
Type:
Specimens
Artists' books (books)
Smithsonian Libraries artists' books
Place:
Netherlands
Date:
1970
Topic:
Artists' books  Search this
Call number:
N6953.D5 A4 1970
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_636569

Jan Dibbets

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Kamakura Gallery, Tokyo  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
[12] p. (incl. covers) : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1982
[1982]
Topic:
Photography in art  Search this
Call number:
N6953.D5 A4 1982
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_828001

Jan Dibbets : colour studies

Title:
Colour studies
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Alan Cristea Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
10 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 16 cm
Type:
Books
Catalogs
Date:
2007
Call number:
TR647 .D52 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_836651

Jan Dibbets / [editor Margriet Suren]

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Suren, Margriet  Search this
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941- Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
[102] p., 1 folded leaf of plate : ill. ; 22 x 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1980
[c1980]
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Call number:
TR654 .D53 1980
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_651908

Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Sol Lewitt, Richard Long, N.E. Thing Co. Ltd., Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner : July, August, September 1969/juillet, août, septembre 1969/Juli, August, September 1969

Author:
Seth Siegelaub (Art Gallery)  Search this
Subject:
Andre, Carl 1935-  Search this
Barry, Robert  Search this
Buren, Daniel  Search this
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Huebler, Douglas  Search this
Kosuth, Joseph  Search this
LeWitt, Sol 1928-2007  Search this
Long, Richard 1945-  Search this
Smithson, Robert  Search this
Weiner, Lawrence  Search this
N.E. Thing Company  Search this
Physical description:
26 p. illus. 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1969
20th century
Topic:
Conceptual art  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Call number:
N6494.C63 C27 1969
N6494.C63C27 1969
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_423296

Jan Dibbets / essays by R.H. Fuchs, M.M.M. Vos ; with an introduction by Martin Friedman

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Fuchs, Rudi 1942-  Search this
Vos, M. M. M  Search this
Walker Art Center  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941- Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
156 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1987
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Call number:
TR647.D543 W2
TR647.D543W2
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_329984

Jan Dibbets

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum  Search this
Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris  Search this
Kunsthalle Bern  Search this
Physical description:
[102] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 x 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1980
C1980]
Topic:
Art and photography  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.D54 S8
N40.1.D54S8
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_138015

Earth art [by] Jan Dibbets [and others. Exhibition] Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Cornell University, February 11-March 16, l969

Author:
Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941- Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) illus. 18 x 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1970
C1970]
20th century
Topic:
Conceptual art  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Call number:
N6494.C62 C8
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_179974

Jan Dibbets. [Tentoonstelling] Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam [17-11-1972/14-1-1973]

Author:
Amsterdam (Netherlands) Stedelijk Museum  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
[54] p. illus. 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1972
Topic:
Conceptual art  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.D54 A5
N40.1.D54A5
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_37623

Jan Dibbets : land, sea, colour / [introduction, Brian Wallis]

Title:
Land, sea, colour
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Wallis, Brian 1953-  Search this
Alan Cristea Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly col. ill. ; 24 x 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2013
[2013]
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1017706

Jan Dibbets : un'altra fotografia = another photography / a cura di Marcella Beccaria

Editor:
Beccaria, Marcella  Search this
Author:
Fuchs, Rudi 1942- Obstinacy (Jan Dibbets)  Search this
Fuchs, Rudi 1942- Obstinacy (Jan Dibbets) Italian  Search this
Dibbets, Jan 1941- Photographs Selections  Search this
Host institution:
Castello di Rivoli (Museum : Rivoli, Italy)  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
117 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2014
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1041153

Jan Dibbets : perspective collection

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Verhagen, Erik  Search this
Boswell, Peter  Search this
Miami Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
C2007
Call number:
N6953.D5 A4 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_900927

Jan Dibbets : perspective collection : July 20-October 14, 2007

Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Boswell, Peter  Search this
Miami Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
[2007]
Call number:
N6953.D5 A4 2007b
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_912466

Jan Dibbets : l'oeuvre photographique, 1967-2007 / Erik Verhagen ; traduit du français par John Tittensor = Jan Dibbets : the photographic work, 1967-2007 / Erik Verhagen ; English translation by John Tittenor

Title:
Jan Dibbets : the photographic work, 1967-2007
Author:
Verhagen, Erik  Search this
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941- Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Physical description:
249 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
2007
C2007
Call number:
TR654 .V475 2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_939341

Jan Dibbets : horizons

Title:
Dibbets : horizons
Horizons
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Städtische Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz  Search this
Kunstverein Heilbronn  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
62 p. : col. ill. ; 24 x 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2010
C2010
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Call number:
TR647 .D52 2010
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_949029

Jan Dibbets : perspective collections

Title:
Perspective collections
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Alan Cristea Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly col. ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_974160

Jan Dibbets, Ger van Elk, Hans van Hoek : contemporary Dutch artists : June 8 to August 24, 1983, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Title:
Contemporary Dutch artists
Author:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Elk, Ger van 1941-  Search this
Hoek, Hans van 1947-  Search this
Goley, Mary Anne  Search this
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)  Search this
Subject:
Dibbets, Jan 1941-  Search this
Elk, Ger van 1941-  Search this
Hoek, Hans van 1947-  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet : ill. ; 38 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1983
1983]
20th century
Topic:
Art, Dutch  Search this
Call number:
N6953.D5 A4 1983
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_983395

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