portrait of Robert Smithson outdoors; a rainbow stretches high above him.

Robert Smithson (1938-1973) Now Represented by Marian Goodman Gallery

Holt/Smithson Foundation and Marian Goodman Gallery are delighted to announce Robert Smithson (1938-1973) is now represented by Marian Goodman Gallery. 

Robert Smithson is an artist who recalibrated the possibilities of art. For over fifty years his work and ideas have influenced artists and thinkers, building the ground from which contemporary art has grown. An autodidact, Smithson’s interests in travel, cartography, geology, architectural ruins, prehistory, philosophy, science-fiction, popular culture, and language spiral through his work. He was fascinated by concepts of duality, entropy, and questions of how we might find our place in the world. In his short and prolific life, Smithson produced paintings, drawings, sculptures, architectural schemes, films, photographs, writings, earthworks, and all the stops between. From his landmark earthworks Spiral Jetty (1970) and Partially Buried Woodshed (1970), which celebrate their fiftieth anniversary this year, to his ‘quasi-minimalist’ sculptures, nonsites, writings, projects and proposals, collages, detailed drawings, and radical rethinking of landscape, Smithson’s ideas are profoundly urgent for our times.  

The partnership between Holt/Smithson Foundation and Marian Goodman Gallery marks a return. In 1965 Marian Goodman was a founder of Multiples, Inc., a landmark project publishing prints, multiples, and books by leading American artists - including Robert Smithson. Holt/Smithson Foundation is dedicated to continuing the creative and investigative spirit of both Smithson and Nancy Holt (1938-2014), who willed the Foundation into being. Holt married Smithson in 1963, and managed the Estate of Robert Smithson from 1973 until her death in 2014. Holt/Smithson Foundation has been active since 2018.  

To celebrate this new partnership a solo exhibition of Smithson’s works launches at Marian Goodman Gallery, London on May 5, 2020, remaining on view through June 27, 2020. This will be the first exhibition dedicated to Smithson in the United Kingdom.  

Lisa Le Feuvre, inaugural Executive Director of Holt/Smithson Foundation says: “Robert Smithson is an incomparable artist whose work has laid the ground for the art of today. Demanding that we look harder and think deeper about how we understand our place on the planet, Smithson is powerful voice for our times. Our role at Holt/Smithson Foundation is to care for his creative legacies, and we are proud to be working with Marian Goodman. We share a commitment to demonstrating why art is a necessary and urgent part of the world.“  

Philipp Kaiser, Chief Executive Director of Artists and Programs at Marian Goodman Gallery, says: “It seems to be the right moment in time to reevaluate and amplify Robert Smithson’s incredible legacy and his far-reaching impact on generations of artists. Among others, this includes Tacita Dean, Pierre Huyghe, and Adrian Villar Rojas. Given the history of Marian Goodman, who worked with the artist in the late 1960s on various multiples, I am very pleased that Smithson’s powerful voice returns to the gallery.”    

About Holt/Smithson Foundation
Active since 2018, Holt/Smithson Foundation exists to continue the creative and investigative spirit of the artists Nancy Holt (1938-2014) and Robert Smithson (1938-73). Holt and Smithson developed innovative ways of exploring our relationship with the planet, expanding the limits of artistic practice. Their Foundation engages in programs developing the artists’ creative legacies, continuing the transformation they brought to the world of art and ideas. Holt/Smithson Foundation works in partnership to produce exhibitions, publications, public programs, and new research.    

About Marian Goodman Gallery
For over forty years, Marian Goodman Gallery has played an important role in introducing European artists to American audiences and helping to establish a vital dialogue among artists and institutions working internationally. Marian Goodman Gallery was founded in New York City in late 1977. In 1995 the gallery expanded to include an exhibition space in Paris and in 2014 an exhibition space in London. In late 2016 she realized her dream of opening a bookstore and project space in Paris.  

About Robert Smithson
Born in Passaic, New Jersey, Robert Smithson (January 2, 1938 – July 20, 1973), spent his formative years in New Jersey. In 1963 he married the artist Nancy Holt (1938–2014), who managed the Estate of Robert Smithson from 1973-2014, and who literally willed Holt/Smithson Foundation into being.    

Smithson is best known for his earthworks Spiral Jetty (1970), Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971), and Amarillo Ramp (1973). Prior these earthworks Smithson created performative entropic land works, such as the ephemeral sculptures Asphalt Rundown (1969, Rome), Glue Pour (1969, Vancouver), Concrete Pour (1969, Chicago), and Partially Buried Woodshed (1970, Kent State) speak poignantly to issues of time and the human condition.  

Smithson’s first solo exhibition, with emphasis on what he described as ‘expressionistic work’, took place in 1957 at Allan Brilliant’s gallery in New York. The artist’s peripatetic life took him to Rome in 1961, when George Lester offered him his first solo international exhibition at Galleria George Lester, where he explored quasi-religious subject matter. His early paintings, drawings and sculptures made between 1961 and 1963 were imbued with references to concrete poetry, popular culture, and science fiction. Influenced by minimalism, in 1964 Smithson declared his quasi-minimal sculptures made from industrial materials of metal and mirrored Plexiglas as his ‘mature’ works, distancing himself from his early expressionistic paintings and drawings.  

Smithson’s writings on art, western culture, graphic texts, and interviews, are published in The Writings of Robert Smithson, edited by Nancy Holt (1979, New York University Press, with an expanded version edited by Jack Flam published in 1998). His works are in numerous museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Dia Art Foundation, Museum of Modern Art New York, National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art.    

For media inquiries, please contact:  
Elle Moody Sutton | +1 212 202 3402 |    

For any other inquiries, please contact Holt/Smithson Foundation:

Image: Nancy Holt, Smithson with Rainbow, August 1971. Arches National Park, Utah. Scanned from original 126 format chromogenic slide. © Holt/Smithson Foundation 

12 February 2020

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