Robert Smithson Drawings


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After a break from the art world, Smithson reemerged in 1964 as a proponent of the minimalist movement. His new work abandoned the preoccupation with the body that had been common in his earlier work, and he began to use glass sheet and neon lighting tubes to explore visual refraction and mirroring. His wall-mounted sculpture Enantiomorphic Chambers was made of steel and mirrors and created the optical effect of a "pointless vanishing-point". Crystalline structures and the concept of entropy became of interest to him and informed a number of sculptures completed during this period, including Alogon 2, (1966) composed of ten units, the title of which refers to the Greek word for an unnamable, irrational number. Smithson interest in entropy led him to write about a future in which "the universe will burn out into an all-encompassing sameness". His ideas on entropy also addressed culture, "the urban sprawl and the infinite number of housing developments of the post war boom have contributed to the architect of entropy". He called these urban/suburban sprawls "slurbs. " Smithson viewed entropy as a form of transformation of society and culture, which is shown in his artwork, for example, the non-site pieces. Smithson became affiliated with artists who were identified with the minimalist or Primary Structures movement, such as Nancy Holt (whom he married), Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt.