2020 Open Days at Broken Circle/Spiral Hill

In order to support the health and well-being of our visitors and staff, and in line with recommendations from public health officials regarding COVID-19, the planned 2020 Open Days at Robert Smithson’s Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971) will be postponed to 2021. Those who have booked for the 2020 dates will be given priority booking for 2021, and will be contacted directly.

2021 is the fiftieth anniversary of Broken Circle/Spiral Hill. Throughout the year, Holt/Smithson Foundation, in collaboration with Land Art Contemporary and CBK Emmen will organize a program of Open Days, performances, and screenings. In the Fall an international summit titled What is the Time of Land Art? will take place. Details of the program will be announced at the end of this year.

Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971) is the only earthwork by Smithson located outside the United States. Situated in a former sand mine in Emmen, part of the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, Broken Circle/Spiral Hill was commissioned for the 1971 exhibition Sonsbeek: Beyond the Pale. The mine quarry was cut into the side of a terminal moraine, the very edge of glacial movement. The geological and industrial history of the region drew Smithson to this particular location, and he was fascinated by the constructed landscape of the Netherlands. Broken Circle/Spiral Hill is visionary in its attention to ecological concerns and the potential of land reclamation.

Broken Circle/Spiral Hill is an artwork of two parts. Broken Circle is a semi-circular jetty built into the quarry lake, filled with reflecting green water. Spiral Hill rises into a cone-shaped hill beside the lake, and a spiraling path leads to the top from where Broken Circle can be observed. At the center is an immovable huge boulder deposited by the ancient glacial movements.

Robert Smithson, Broken Circle/SpiralHill (1971)
Emmen, The Netherlands

Broken Circle
Water, sand, and boulder
Diameter: 140 ft. (42.6 m); canal: 12 ft. (3.6 m) wide, 10-15 ft. (3-4.5 m) deep

Spiral Hill
Earth, topsoil, sand
Diameter: 75 ft. (22.9 m) at base

Photograph: Robert Smithson

©Holt/Smithson Foundation, Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

More News

Nancy Holt: Points of View at Parafin, London

This September Nancy Holt: Points of View launches at Parafin, London. The exhibition explores Nancy Holt’s fascination with language and systems of perception. The exhibition will be open from September 25 - November 14, 2020.

Tuesday Texts Program

Holt/Smithson Foundation is committed to developing new research on the work and creative legacies of artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. In June we launch our on-going Scholarly Text Program, which invites thinkers to focus on a single artwork by Holt and/or Smithson.

Friday Film Program Weekend Screening

For the last nine weeks the first edition of Holt/Smithson Foundation’s Friday Film Program has presented a selected moving image work by Nancy Holt and/or Robert Smithson on Vimeo and IGTV for twenty-four hours.

This weekend all nine films in the Friday Film Program are accessible on Vimeo, along with introductions by artists Charlotte Prodger, Dorothy Cross, Lee Ranaldo, and Katrina Palmer, as well as by members of the Foundation team.

Holt/Smithson Foundation Friday Films—"Mono Lake" on May 29, 2020

Through April and May 2020 Holt/Smithson Foundation invites you to join us for our Friday Film Program.

Every Friday until the end of May we present a selected moving image work by Nancy Holt and/or Robert Smithson on Vimeo and IGTV for twenty-four hours. The program starts at 12 noon Friday on Mountain Time (the time zone of our home base in New Mexico), and runs to 12 noon on Saturday.