Constructed to emerge from the base of an artificial lake, Amarillo Ramp now lies in a dried-up basin, its original structure altered by erosion. It is Smithson’s final earthwork; while surveying the site in 1973, Smithson was killed in a plane crash alongside pilot Gale Ray Rogers and photographer Robert E. Curtin. The sculpture was posthumously completed by Nancy Holt and artists Tony Shafrazi and Richard Serra. Overgrown with mesquite, its once-defined edges sloping into the earth, Amarillo Ramp is a solemn illustration of entropy.
The Making of Amarillo Ramp
The Making of Amarillo Ramp documents the construction of Robert Smithson's earthwork Amarillo Ramp. At age thirty-five, while photographing the site of the earthwork in progress, Smithson died in a small airplane accident, along with pilot Gale Ray Rogers and photographer Robert E. Curtin. After Smithson's passing, Nancy Holt, Richard Serra, and Tony Shafrazi completed Amarillo Ramp according to Smithson's specifications. This film documents the sounds and actions of the powerful machinery necessary to create an earthwork of this scale, while underscoring the human skill and personal relationships that were integral to the completion of the work.
Nancy Holt shot this film on site in 1973, however the film was not edited until 2013. The Making of Amarillo Ramp premiered at the opening of Robert Smithson in Texas, at the Dallas Museum of Art in November of 2013.