Smithson, interrupted By Adam Moore | Hypothetical Islands | Review

Preface

Robert Smithson opened western artistic practice to a new landscape of possibilities, both inside and beyond the gallery. For me, his practice engages the ongoing enquiry of my own visceral, tactile, and embodied experiences, and offers a portal through which I can trace the innate empathy between my body and landscape (despite the rather undocumented, starkly colonial patriarchy of his work).

Robert Smithson’s Hypothetical Islands (Marian Goodman Gallery, London, UK, December 2 2020-January 9 2021), is the only encounter I have had with Smithson’s work beyond his writing, exhibition catalogues, and my favourite journal articles and interviews, published when he was still alive. 

Throughout the pandemic a lot has happened. Turn on the news. It is a wild world of suffering. So why in all of this does Smithson still matter? 

Smithson, Interrupted is my expression. Smithson, Interrupted is a review. And a series of interrogations. And a complaint, against the white art world institutions, its curators, and careless curatorial practice. Smithson, Interrupted, is a fresh view of Smithson. For the younger generation of artists, curators, and critical, independent thinkers who are Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour, discovering Smithson’s work (and other artists like him), with questions, disruptions of their own.

Smithson, Interrupted – by Adam Moore

Hypothetical Islands is an ambivalent encounter, a dialectic with a misshapen spectre in a vanishing room. Smithson’s Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island (1970) conveys the type of solitary isolation felt in the capital when the show opened. As we lurched towards a Christmas we would never forget, the doors to Marian Goodman’s London gallery closed for good – slightly earlier than planned. Global and national disturbances throughout 2020 shifted our perceived coordinates, keeping us on our toes.

Shortly after the pandemic hit, it became clear that the most vulnerable and marginalised were enduring the harshest afflictions of a pandemic under neo-liberal capitalist extremism. Despite waves of resistance, racism retained its choking grip on Black lives. The trans community battled legislative debates and physical threats on their lives, too. Women’s lives everywhere were (and continue to be) attacked by men, patriarchy, misongny. A crumbling relationship to the planet sustaining us deteriorates.

As useful as the developing awareness of these intersecting and interconnected problems was and is, meaningful structural and systemic change remains murderously slow. Given Smithson’s intrigue for ‘sites that had been in some way disrupted or pulverised’[1], he would almost certainly have appreciated the exhibitions timeliness (had he been here to see it).

The works in Hypothetical Islands emphasise pauses, before recalibrating and deciding how to proceed. Here, the ambivalence stems from what we do and don’t see – in Smithson’s work, in the exhibitions commercial curation, and in our current circumstances. Framing Hypothetical Islands as a prophetic intervention that either directly or indirectly addresses current socio-political and/or ecological concerns is far beyond the capability of these 50-year-old works. Across Smithson’s 16 posthumous solo exhibitions from 1974-2003[2] and 13 group shows from 1978-2004[3], it is likely that these works were probably last exhibited twenty, if not thirty (or forty) years ago. Smithson’s well-documented interests span a range of topics that have been explored in various configurations: geometry and gesture, process and operation, ‘Site’ and ‘Nonsite’; fiction, philosophy, science, religion; Post-studio critique, and so on. Although Hypothetical Islands positively pivots away from all that fatigue, it does little to address our shifting circumstances – at least, not in the ways the exhibition’s curation suggests.

To start, five films by Smithson and Nancy Holt act as a visual dictionary to construct figments and approximations later. Encountering Smithson’s finished projects first, we see the artist’s imaginative reach, and how large ours could grow (if we let it?). Mangrove Ring: Summerland Key, Florida (1979) by Holt evokes a mystical machismo, adding detail to what we might crudely imagine looking at Smithson’s sketches. Mono Lake (1968-2004) reveals Holt and Smithson’s shared interests, and their individual approaches to landscape, the dreamy ephemerality of their companionship juxtaposed with the sense that in their explorations ‘the physical world precedes the mind rather than the mind preceding the physical world’.[4] 

Dusty blue skies over mountain ranges; water lapping seductively at Mono Lake’s edge. Sensual nature arouses. Cigarettes burn; mountains rumble; a rough tumble down basalt. Stillness. A camera shutter clicks. 

Nancy Holt & Robert Smithson – Mono Lake (1968 – 2004)

The film Spiral Jetty (1970) is a little didactic – like being given the answer before being asked the obvious questions posed by Smithson’s drawings that follow (how might these works appear had they been completed, and what might their impact and legacy have been?). Spiral Jetty ends, superimposing an embodied, triumphant vision of actualised potential: Smithson excitedly darts the length of the spiral. Filmed from above, the shadow of a helicopter curves through the sky after him. Nancy Holt’s The Making of Amarillo Ramp (1973-2013) is bittersweet. Holt filmed herself and Dennis Oppenheim completing the project together after Smithson’s untimely death in 1973. These two narratives express an emotional depth that simultaneously reflects and contrasts the raw materials of investigation in these works. Both films require extra stamina when they grunt into the hypnotically mundane and mechanical reality of construction. Smithson’s and Holt’s iconic films recede to the horizon of Hypothetical Islands, so that the rest of the exhibition ‘can be permeated and change with different conditions.’[5]

Smithson’s works on paper – potential and unrealised projects – vary across subject (islands, maps, diagrams), medium (pencil, pen, ink, gouache), and form (drawing, painting, collage). Two paintings side by side – They Scooted Across (1961-1963) and You Young Folks (1961-63), quote verbatim from the children’s book Betty Gordon at Ocean Park, or, School chums on the boardwalk.[6] These ‘language drawings, exploring words as physical structures’[7]slap with the vibrancy of the 1960s. 

Smithson’s drawings vary in charm. In rudimentary, Quentin Blake-esque scrawl, Hypothetical Islands is largely curated from Smithson’s sketchbooks and ephemera. Would he have wanted these in an exhibition? Several drawings feel especially private. Compositions mirror Smithson’s nomadic explorations of sites ‘in a very primitive way by going from one point to another’.[8] Evoking the sensual materiality encountered in the films, simple marks convey irrefutable enthusiasm, a compelling energy erupted and contained upon the page.

Tracing the development of thought over time, a triptych of exacting, smudgy drawings, Untitled, (n.d.), Meandering Island (Little Fort Is. Maine) (1971)and Meandering Island (Little Fort Island Maine) (1971), stimulate a cerebral, subterranean, reptilian pleasure. Mental agility shrinks and stretches between the works on paper and the speed at which we visualise their hypothetical forms. How these works might have appeared had they been completed seems to have been answered prematurely with the series of films curated at the start. 

Disorientated inside the vortex of The Eliminator (1964), the installation abstracts and echoes the confusing isolation felt at the end of 2020. Light dazzles neon red; time drips between the blinks.

Films loop, drawings repeat, and the installation flashes. On. 

***

Like Smithson’s Partially Covered Woodshed (1970), curators and institutions have buried Smithson under fifty years or so of critical acclaim, discourse, and mythologising, cementing his status. In her note prefacing curator and scholar Naomi Sawelson-Gorse’s fully transcribed, edited, and annotated interview between Smithson and Moira Roth, Roth is effusive:  

Over the years I have been consistently drawn back to the cartographic model of his Nonsites, which he described to me that afternoon three decades ago as “abstracted, three-dimensional maps that point to a specific site [that was] leading me somewhere. So I followed”. I, too, these days follow many trails that lead me this way and that in my writings about fractured times, geographies and histories, in which maps play a central role.[9]

A projection of everyone who could fall in love with potential, Hypothetical Islands is a disturbance of the layers of mythological detritus covering Smithson’s partially empty tomb. Although Smithson’s production line has long since ceased, he retains his distinguished image: ‘the historical analogue to the nomadic practice of international artists today and the art tourism that their on-site production necessitates’[10].

Even so, like the anticipated patina of crystal salt that covered Spiral Jetty when it re-emerged from the salt-lake in the early 2000s, perhaps the mythic representation of Smithson that we encounter, ‘was built, in short, to be salted’[11]?The ‘geological changes of our planet… at the core of Robert Smithson’s artistic practice’[12], are not entirely imaginary. However, we might question how much it cost to have two dump trucks, a large tractor, and a front-end loader, move 6,650 tons of basalt and earth into a 15-foot wide, 15,000m long spiral in a remote region of Utah – and what the impact of this was on the environment. Who’s to say geology and ethics should mix? Spiral Jetty took two weeks to complete (with two months or so of prior negotiations), financed in part by $9,000 from Virginia Dwan Gallery and a reported donation from Douglas Christmas. Douglas Christmas was an art dealer who knew and worked with Smithson and founded Douglas Gallery, running out of the former Dwan Gallery space in Westwood, Los Angeles, from 1976 before founding Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, in 1986. Christmas filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Prior to this he was reportedly sued ‘more than 55 times under nine different business names — ‘by artists, dealers, collectors, private investors, service industries, landlords and former friends.”’[13] Unable to verify the reports of a donation from Christmas, Dwan’s contribution would be $61,346.58 today – nearly £50,000. Smithson acquired enough money to render remote, unyielding regions his canvas. With this support, he made the earth move.

*

On February 2nd 1970, Smithson’s Glass Island was scheduled to go into production. Smithson planned to cover the surface of Miami Islet, a tiny island in the Georgia Straight (close to Nanaimo, Vancouver), entirely with glass, where it would eventually erode back to sand. While such a powerful gesture may have demonstrated an interest in geological time, with widespread public awareness of climate catastrophe – now more than ever before – centring such an artistic vision raises environmental alarm bells. How much are we permitted to intervene in nature, and for what purpose? The project was rejected last minute. ‘Evidently questionable’, Ray Williston, minister of Lands and Forest for the provincial government, decided the project was not ‘for the benefit of the public.’[14] The unrealised project proposed by Smithson begs the question of who land belongs to and what is considered appropriate or beneficial use of land.

In Smithson’s drawings, ambiguous sites of entropy recur in bleak detail. Fires; there are lots of mounds and holes. I wonder if Smithson knew what was burning; what these mounds covered, or what went into these holes. In the gallery’s online exhibition video, Lisa Le Feuvre (curating Hypothetical Islands with Phillip Kaiser) muses on Smithson’s Island Project (1970). In this drawing, windows, doors, openings, and stairways lead nowhere; a burning fire in the centre of the roof billows smoke into the sky; out back, a line dangles, with a hook on the end; spikes protrude from the walls. ‘Could it be Smithson thinking about how we can repurpose industry?’[15] Hypothetically speaking this seems an unlikely proposition. Could it be that this lofty pontificating is part of a sales pitch for an awfully expensive artwork? Le Feuvre speculates whether the drawing depicts ‘how we can work with the destruction that we humans have done to our planet?’[16] If anything, Island Project depicts some of the threats endangering life on the planet and all those who depend upon its survival. Despite Le Feuvre’s optimism, it is farfetched to believe that 50 years ago Smithson was entertaining the possibility that these gestures would have any relationship to how we could minimise, decelerate, halt, or reverse the damage done to our planet. Although scientific research into global warming dates to the late 19th century, it was only ‘thirty years ago [that] the potentially disruptive impact of heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels and rain forests became front page news’[17] (the late 1980s). Linking Smithson’s drawings to climate concerns is an anachronism.

Missing from Hypothetical Islands is Entropic Landscape (1970) which reveals Smithson’s unsettling intrigue with destruction more clearly. In this drawing, we can see Island Project in the background. There are no people in Island Project – we could draw some in, but where could we put them and who could they be? The only figure we know of who could conceivably fit within this picture is Smithson (and his able-bodied, heteronormative, wealthy, white, male, colonial depiction of Man). In many ways, Smithson and his work are emblematic by-products of the afterlife of colonialism and slavery (structural and systemic racism). As artistic gestures, Island Project, Entropic Landscape, and Glass Island make a rather ghastly, misanthropic collection.

The questions posed through the curation of Hypothetical Islands exposes audiences to categorisations of racialised subjects where freedom, potential, and progress equate with and are simultaneously enabled by whiteness – its privilege and forbearers. The collective ‘we’ in the exhibition’s interpretation material conflates Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour, as equal and active protagonists in the earth’s deformation and deterioration. Simultaneously, this repudiation of difference is reflected in Smithson’s practice as we see him pouring over, burrowing under, and ploughing right through indigenous histories. Kathryn Yussof, professor of inhuman geography at Queen Mary University states that ‘to be included in this “we” of the Anthropocene is to be silenced by a claim of universalism that fails to notice its subjugations… The supposed “we” further legitimates and justifies the racialised inequalities that are bound up in social geologies.’[18] Yussof explains, ‘Modern liberalism is forged through colonial violence, and slavery is at least coterminous with its ideas and experiences of freedom, if not with the material root of its historical possibility.’[19] The destruction Le Feuvre refers to is a direct result of ‘the largest forced migration of people in the world, the profits accrued from the enslaved during the transatlantic slave trade laid the economic foundation for Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas’.[20] Slavery and settler colonialism, through to the Industrial Revolution, and on into the extreme capitalist exploitation and extraction experienced by millions of Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour now, is what has led to the geological epoch of the Anthropocene – where Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour endure the gravest environmental consequences of climate destruction while receiving the least – if any – climate justice (environmental racism).

The lenses we are given to look through by the curators of Hypothetical Islands focus our attention on Smithson’s curiosity with ‘landscapes that had been ravaged by industry’, alongside his exploration of ‘the difficulties rather than the beauty of our planet’, his work acting as a portal for ‘human beings on the planet asking questions.’[21] Highlighting and then failing to interrogate Smithson’s work and its curation for ‘difficulties’ embodies an outdated and malignly underdeveloped awareness of so many current and pressing issues – if we’re going to relate his work to the wider concerns of our time beyond the gallery (which the curators of Hypothetical Islands attempt to do). Only months ago, art institutions publicly declared themselves accountable protagonists in addressing structural inequities (following on from dubious black squares on their Instagram feeds and interchangeable statements of support on their websites). The curation here fails abysmally in acknowledging the privileged preoccupation with whiteness embedded within Smithson’s work and the frame held around it that audiences are welcomed to peer through so as to be enlightened. The curation is embedded with and reproduces the same racist and exclusionary systems and structures that institutions are proposing they redress.

The artist Grace Ndiritu observes how institutions ‘have been drawn to the glamorous work of promoting Black curators and administrators to positions of power and collecting Black artist’s work – important efforts, but that’s not strictly what’s meant by “anti-racist” work’.[22] ‘Cancelling’ everything that reproduces racist structures that traumatise and damage Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour, is not necessarily the work of anti-racism either (although there are notable exceptions – the abolition of the police being the most obvious). Anti-racism is about acknowledging how white supremacy and colonialism have set the trajectory we are on, and working ceaselessly to find ways to unset this, now. As long as white, heterosexual, male, cis-gendered, wealthy artists are lauded as bastions of their medium(s), promulgated by white, privileged curators and critics, exclusion, marginalisation, and pain will continue to exist in art spaces for Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people of colour, and women, gender non-conforming people, and people with disabilities, and people with neurodiversity’s – whether or not people from these underrepresented groups try to assimilate (a pernicious survival strategy). When Moira Roth asks Smithson if he thinks his work functions as a persuasive didactic to help people think differently, he agrees: 

…whether it be the picture in the magazine or the Jetty itself or the lake or the film. All these things are interrelated. In other words, I would say that I’m not a reductive artist, I’m a generative artist. There’s a vast network of interconnections that are established between all these different things, all these different aspects.[23]

We need to think about Smithson differently, to consider his whiteness as a determining factor in the development of his practice, and his ability to create such an expansive (and expensive) oeuvre in a considerably short space of time. And acknowledge the impact of the whiteness of his supporters on his work – then and now. We ought to question Smithson’s lack of awareness of the relations of indigenous and local histories to the land he used (or proposed to use) and explore what these histories are, and what negating these histories reveals. Observing the mobs of racist, white-supremacist Trump supporters storming the Capitol (to a warm reception of selfies with the national guard), it is painfully easy to see how institutionalised histories that go unquestioned and unexplored work to serve and maintain the oppressive systems that extinguish so many people’s lives and livelihoods. There are 50 years of disconnects when considering an artist like Smithson, his work and institutionalisation. One explanation – that Smithson was simply a product of his time (a white, wealthy, male artist in 1970s America) – can no longer be used as an excuse – his intersections ought to be claimed and owned and examined critically by institutions and curators. Although they cannot change the intersections of his privileges and the confident entitlement these produce, Smithson offers insightful observations through his writing worth re-asserting: 

Cultural confinement takes place when a curator imposes his own limits on an art exhibition, rather than asking an artist to set limits. Artists are expected to sit into fraudulent categories. Some artists imagine they’ve got a hold on the apparatus, which has in fact got a hold on them. As a result, they end up supporting a cultural prison that is out of their control. Artists themselves are not confined, but their output is.[24]

Here, curatorial practice fails to acknowledge and consider systemic and structural racism in the wake of colonialism and white supremacy as the determining factor directly and disproportionately accelerating the deterioration of our planet, propelling the world and everyone in it towards the destruction upon which we are asked to casually contemplate – such whimsical musings show a lack of consideration for Black lives. Discussing the limits of the gallery with Michal Heizer and Dennis Oppenheim the year Smithson created Spiral Jetty, he said: ‘I don’t think you’re freer artistically in the desert than you are inside a room.’[25] Hypothetical Islands emphasises imaginative freedom and yet buries Smithson’s work beneath heaps of language that means next to nothing where the future of the planet is concerned.

It is important that curators ask themselves many questions on their journey to black lives matter-ing – whether the artist is alive or not, regardless of when the work was made. ‘How does this work negate and/or damage Black lives?’ – is a good place to start. ‘What are the legacies of colonialism and white supremacy that exist within this work and curatorial practice? What am I ignoring in place of what I am asking others to see? How can/does curation and criticism advance structural racism and how might this be challenged and changed?’ And so on. While Smithson’s work continues to occupy such a significant platform and sphere of influence, opening his work up to these investigations is meaningful. It is vital we continue to open up curatorial and critical practice to these interrogations. Self-examination, self-awareness, and learning; long- term accountability; consistent energy activating change; reflexivity – within inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary collaboration – are vital matters now. 

Estates and Foundations are guardians of deceased artists’ reputations. Le Feuvre is the Inaugural Executive Director of Holt/Smithson Foundation, and along with the board of trustees, she has the firmest grip on how Smithson is represented, bringing her curation of Hypothetical Islands under closer scrutiny. Foundations have the power to choose which works are shown and how these are contextualised, and can decline to exhibit works altogether. Perhaps similar works from the same period were omitted to ensure the commercial value of Smithson’s work, while managing his posthumous transformation into a romantic eco-warrior of sorts. Le Feuvre’s position demands an awkward negotiation, a double bind of gatekeeping the artists relevance while trying to develop a contemporary narrative. Unfortunately, the narrative of Hypothetical Islands lacks objectivity, and negates critical analyses essential for developing an accurate contemporary narrative. The Holt/Smithson Foundation functions to safeguard and gatekeep, limit curatorial interrogations, and minimise any shifts too far away from representations of the gestalt Smithson we have inherited. However, institutions, estates, and foundations; curators, artists, and academics – all arts and cultural workers – now have societal and increasingly contractual responsibilities to uphold: to make space for the influence, inclusion, and representation of new and different perspectives, and to give these voices power and appropriate remuneration. The gates need to be fully opened and resources redistributed.

Hypothetical Islands encourages the enactment of imagination and emphasises its vital importance in the creative process – if we can think it, we can achieve it. Perhaps. There are numerous obstacles preventing ideas from ever making it off the page, and yet, Smithson shows us something of the power contained in first flourishes. We see his ideas resonate, living on in different forms that he could never have predicted. We are shown the importance of inscribing our visions; we see how inscriptions last. Sometimes tiny gestures can bridge the gap between the possible and actual. Through these gestures we can show others what we can see that perhaps they cannot. Hypothetical Islands is as much fiction as it is imagination. Nefarious obfuscations of whiteness and white privilege rumble through the exhibition in noble but intangible extrapolations used to recontextualise Smithson’s work. In many respects, this is the same structurally and systemically racist, exclusionary, and white centred rhetoric found in anthropogenic discourse. Claiming an altruistic territory on Smithson’s behalf that he was never entitled to inhabit, is colonial. And an example of how seemingly innocuous suppositions insidiously re-write and whitewash history. 

Interrogating Smithson’s practice and curatorial practice more critically in our new conditions, is one way we can begin redressing structural and systemic inequalities and inequity institutionalised within and enacted by the arts. We can see the structures holding Smithson in place on the white walls surrounding his white work. It is the urgent and important work of anti-racism for everyone to fill this white space with the questions, concerns, and demands of Black, brown, and indigenous people, and people colour, and dismantle these structures that centre whiteness. This doesn’t mean you can’t still like, or even love, the idea of Hypothetical Islands. But you must see it (along with everything else in this exhibition), for what it is – not what it could be.


[1]Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, ‘Discussions with Heizer, Oppenheim, Smithson’ AVALANCHE, Fall, 1, (1970), 51-71 (p. 50).

[2] This figure rises to 18 exhibitions if we include the current Hypothetical Islands at Marian Goodman, London, and Primordial Beginnings at Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris.

[3] This figure rises to 14, including Bound to the Earth: Art, Materiality, and the Natural World, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that closed in March 2020.

[4] Moira Roth, ‘An interview with Robert Smithson (1973)’, ed. by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse, in ROBERT SMITHSON, ed. by Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler (University of California Press, 2004), pp. 80-95 (p. 87).

[5] Ibid, 92

[6] Betty Gordon at Ocean Park, or, School chums on the boardwalk was published in 1923 as part of the Stratemeyer Syndicate’s Betty Gordon book series. The Stratemeyer Syndicate was a successful publishing company that produced a number of mystery book series for children from 1899-1987.

[7] Wall text from Hypothetical Islands exhibition, Marian Goodman Gallery, London, 2020.

[8] Heizer, Oppenheim, Smithson, p. 52

[9] Moira Roth, ‘An interview with Robert Smithson (1973)’, ed. by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse, in ROBERT SMITHSON, ed. by Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler, pp. 80-95 (p. 82).

[10] Cornelia Butler, ‘A LURID PRESENCE: SMITHSON’S LEGACY AND POST-STUDIO ART,’ in ROBERT SMITHSON, ed. Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler (University of California Press, 2004), pp 224-243 (p. 234).

[11] Jennifer L. Roberts, ‘THE TASTE OF TIME: SALT AND SPIRAL JETTY,’ in ROBERT SMITHSON, ed. Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler, pp 96-135 (p. 97).

[12] Marian Goodman Gallery, Robert Smithson, Hypothetical Islands, online exhibition video, Vimeo, 2 December 2020, https://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/robert-smithson-hypothetical-islands-london/ accessed 17 March 2021.

[13] Jori Finkel, ‘Artists Fight to Get Works Back From Ace Gallery,’ The New York Times, 20 April 2016 <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/arts/design/artists-fight-to-get-works-back-amid-ace-gallerysbankruptcy-case.html> accessed 5 February 2021.

[14] Kevin Griffin, ‘Art Scene: From Approval to rejection: before Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson proposed Glass Island by Nanaimo’, Vancouver Sun,  5 April 2016 <https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/from-approval-to-rejection-before-spiral-jetty-robert-smithson-proposed-glass-island-by-nanaimo> accessed on 5 February 2021 

[15] Marian Goodman Gallery, Robert Smithson, Hypothetical Islands, online exhibition video, Vimeo, 2 December 2020, https://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/robert-smithson-hypothetical-islands-london/ accessed 17 March 2021.

16 Ibid.

[17] Andrew Revkin, ‘Climate Change First Became News 30 Years Ago. Why Haven’t We Fixed It?’

National Geographic, July 2018 < https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/embark-essay-climate-change-pollution-revkin> accessed on 2 February 2021

[18] Kathryn Yussof, A Billions Black Anthropocenes or None (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), p. 12.

[19] Ibid, 2.

[20] Ibid, 15.

[21] Marian Goodman Gallery, Robert Smithson, Hypothetical Islands, online exhibition video, Vimeo, 2 December 2020, https://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/robert-smithson-hypothetical-islands-london/ accessed 17 March 2021.

[22] Grace Ndritu has been deeply engaged in this kind of work for years in her artistic and written practice. Grace Ndritu, ‘The Healing of America’, Fillip Online, < https://fillip.ca/content/the-healing-of-america> accessed on 2 February 2021. 

[23] Moira Roth, ‘An interview with Robert Smithson (1973)’, ed. by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse, in ROBERT SMITHSON, ed. by Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler, pp. 80-95 (p. 88).

[24] Robert Smithson, ‘Cultural Confinement,’ in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writing, ed. by Jack Flam (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996), p. 154.

[25] Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, ‘Discussions with Heizer, Oppenheim, Smithson’ AVALANCHE, Fall, 1, (1970), 51-71 (p. 56).