Nico Israel on Robert Smithson

Gallery Talks

March 28, 2009    add to my calendar

Nico Israel is an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center; he also teaches at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. He is the author of "Outlandish: Writing between Exile and Diaspora" (Stanford University Press, 2000), a number of essays on modernist aesthetics and geopolitics, and over a dozen catalogue essays on contemporary art. He is also is a frequent contributor to Artforum and Bookforum magazines.

Robert Smithson was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1938. In 1953, as a high-school student, he won a scholarship to New York's Art Students League, where he studied in the evenings for the next two years, also taking classes at the Brooklyn Museum School in 1956. Smithson's first solo exhibition was in 1959, at the Artist's Gallery, New York. He began to produce what he considered his first mature works of writing and sculpture in 1964. Smithson used black basalt rocks and earth from the site surrounding the Great Salt Lake in Utah, to create the monumental Earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970), a coil 1,500 feet long and fifteen feet wide that stretches out counterclockwise into the translucent red water of the lake. Smithson died in a plane crash in Amarillo, Texas, in 1973, while working on Amarillo Ramp. Major retrospectives of his work have been organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York (1980), the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia (1993), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (1999). In 1999, Dia acquired his Spiral Jetty as a gift of his estate.

Gallery Talks at Dia:Beacon is a series that takes place the last Saturday of every month at 1pm and is free with museum admission. Focused on the work of the artists in Dia's collection, the one-hour presentations are given by curators, art historians, and writers, and take place in museum's galleries. 
 

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Nico Israel is an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center; he also teaches at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. He is the author of "Outlandish: Writing between Exile and Diaspora" (Stanford University Press, 2000), a number of essays on modernist aesthetics and geopolitics, and over a dozen catalogue essays on contemporary art. He is also is a frequent contributor to Artforum and Bookforum m

 
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