This series includes nine interview transcripts with Robert Smithson. Topics include his general philosophy on art; contemporary art in relation to its historical context; non-sites, earthworks, entropy, space, and structures; the relationship between artists and dealers, museums, and collectors; and his most influential works, including Spiral Jetty, Broken Circle, and Spiral Hill.
The Alan Kaprow and Rodger Katan transcript (1966) focuses on the relationship between museums and contemporary art. The transcript with Dennis Wheeler (1969-1970) consists of 4 taped, informal sessions discussing Smithson's general philosophy on art, non-sites, and specific projects. In the Paul Toner transcript (1970), Smithson discusses earthworks, mirror displacements, non-sites, and art's historical context. The Gregorie Muller transcript  focuses on the background and construction of Broken Circle and Spiral Hill. The Art Institute of Chicago transcript (1971) records Smithson's question and answer session with the audience after a showing of his films Swamp and Spiral Jetty. In the Bruce Kurtz transcript (1972), Smithson informally discusses artists' relationships with dealers, museums, and collectors; gallery art's general separation from nature; capitalism's influence and intersection with art; and his 1966 airport projects.
The Stella Russell (1973) transcript focuses on Spiral Jetty, Broken Circle, and Spiral Hill. In the Alison Sky transcript (1973), Smithson discusses his thoughts on entropy, the act of building, and its intersection with the architectural and engineering mechanics of structure. In Smithson's transcript with two unidentified students (1973), he discusses modernism and the branching off of developing contemporary art; public sculpture; historical context, theory, linguistics, and humanism; and thoughts on his own writings. The transcript with Moira Roth (1973) focuses on Duchamp and conceptual art.
There is also a full transcript of the Andrew Dickson White Museum's Earth Art Symposium (1969) with the following participating artists: Mike Hiezer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Neil Jenney, Gunther Uecker, Jan Dibbets, Richard Long, and Hans Haacke.
This series is arranged in chronological order by year of the interview.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Periodicals, and phonographs from Robert Smithson's personal library are currently stored offsite. Contact References Services for more information.
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that they may own in the following material: two holiday cards found in box 11, folders 23-24.
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers, 1905-1987, bulk 1952-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.