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Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings Paperback – April 10, 1996
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Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty is the poster child for the antiformalist Earth Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A coil of earth, salt, and stone that Smithson built into Great Salt Lake, Utah, the piece is a tribute to the movement's scale and engineering as well as to its visionary union of art and nature. Smithson's questioning of the conventional attitudes of art and culture did not stop with the creation of objects and images; he was committed to exploring of attitudes and ideas as a critical component of his work. A revised and expanded version of The Writings of Robert Smithson, this book is a charged combination of articles and images in which the author demystifies the distinction between theory and practice.
"Smithson read widely and used that reading to create a style of criticism that is unique and deeply personal. 'One must remember, ' he says, 'that writing on art replaces presence by absence by substituting the abstraction of language for the real thing.' His own vivid and very beautiful prose often provides some equivalent for that presence."--David Carrier, "Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
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It is important to say that Smithson's qualities as a writer are comparable to his qualities as an artist. It is one of the most important books I own, and it is definitively an excellently compiled source for anyone (...even if barely) interested in the work of Robert Smithson.
This is the kind of collection you can return to again and again.
There was something strange about the first page in the book, though not exactly easy to describe. The first page was glued both just a little at the seam of the binding onto the inside of the paperback cover and the next page in the book. When I went to push that first page where it had been glued at the binding off the cover it somewhat disattached the book from the binding because the reason that page had been glued just a little to the back of the cover was because it was holding the pages of the book to the cover. That first page was not important to me anyway, and I removed it, and glued the whole next page onto the inside back of the paperback cover to hold the book to the cover to secure the binding, and it holds nicely. I had to do some work, though. The book is worth it.