Robert Smithson at the National Gallery of Art

American artist Robert Smithson started out as a painter in the 1950’s, distanced himself from the art world for a while, before re-emerging as an advocate of the minimalist movement. Moving in circles with people like Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Richard Long and Claes Oldenburg he created both minimalist sculptural work as well as land art.

This work from 1967 (refabricated in 2014) is called “Glass Stratum”. It consists of 37 layers of green glass, each 2 inches shorter than the other.

Interestingly, Smithson had a special bond with The Netherlands. In 1971 he created “Broken Circle/Spiral Hill”, one of his signature land-art pieces, two of them in fact: a spiral structure that is built half on land, half in the water and a hill opposite it. It resides in Emmen in the Dutch province of Drenthe and was part of the Sonsbeek ’71 art festival. It has been restored on several occasions and due to weather and water the work has changed slightly over time, but it is still there. The artwork is not publicly accessible, but can be viewed on several set occasions every year.

Smithson sadly died in a plane crash while surveying land for possible future land art projects in 1973.

Throwback to last summer’s US and Canada road trip, visiting the wonderful National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) in Washington D.C.