Meandering Island (Little Fort Island Maine)

Robert Smithson
1971
Little Fort Island, Maine, USA
Graphite on paper
19 x 24 in. (48.3 x 70 cm)

Little Fort Island, a small coastal island outside of Harrington, Maine, was purchased sight-unseen by Holt and Smithson on September 30, 1971. Smithson made two drawings outlining potential projects for the island before he made a site visit. However, when he arrived at Little Fort Island, Smithson decided not to proceed with the meandering earthwork proposals as he felt the landscape was too picturesque.

This drawing imagines a curving path made of canals and a jetty that connects two landmasses. The path takes form as water carving through land, and earth bridging across water—blurring the boundary between land and sea. In Meandering Island (Little Fort Island Maine) the ocean is not merely a backdrop; it is a formal component of the earthwork, a subject in its own right seeking union with itself across the interruption of land.

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