Robert Smithson Drawings in Paris

On October 19, 2022 the Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations present the two-part exhibition Humpty \ Dumpty, a project by artist Cyprien Gaillard.

Across two sites, Gaillard offers a reflection upon time—its traces, its effects, and the relationships that humans form with it. Inspired by the current moment where Paris is restoring its most prestigious monuments whilst erasing marks of wear and tear in preparation for the Olympic Games, Gaillard reveals how the city acts a privileged terrain for the expression of entropy and how, in turn, humans seem compelled to fight against this process.

In Humpty \ Dumpty at Palais de Tokyo, Gaillard has made a careful selection of fifteen Robert Smithson drawings from the Foundation’s collection, which he made between 1960 and 1963. Rarely seen, this selection of works on paper reveals his enduring concerns with entropy.

In 1972 Smithson described these as being “phantasmagorical drawings of cosmological worlds somewhat between Blake and a kind of Boschian imagery.” These drawings show Smithson’s roots, his ideas in progress; they are a raw, unfettered analysis of the idea of modernism and systems of knowledge. There are trees, spirals, forking paths, language, pulsating forms stretching beyond arboreal and human bodies, knots of limbs, and Smithson chose titles such as ChaosDiseaseDevil, and Usury for these exploratory works.

See more of the works in the exhibition here.

Robert Smithson, Untitled (1961)
Pencil and watercolor on paper
12 5/8 x 14 7/8 in. (32.1 x 37.8 cm)
Courtesy Holt/Smithson Foundation and Marian Goodman Gallery
© Holt/Smithson Foundation / Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York

Archived News

Robert Smithson: Rome is still falling

Holt/Smithson Foundation is delighted to announce an exhibition of Robert Smithson’s early, and largely unseen, drawings at MACRO — Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. Rome is still falling brings together twenty-two early works Smithson made between 1960 and 1964, the majority presented to the public for the first time, from the collection of Holt/Smithson Foundation.

Research Fellowship Webinar with Rory O'Dea

Join us on Thursday October 13th for a webinar by 2022 Holt/Smithson Research Fellow, Rory O'Dea.
Rory will share his research surrounding Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt's time and work in the Pine Barrens, NJ.

Tuesday Texts: Chapter Four

We are happy to announce that throughout October we will be publishing a fourth chapter of our Tuesday Text Series as part of our ongoing Scholarly Text Program, which invites thinkers to focus on a single artwork by Holt and/or Smithson.

Every Tuesday we will publish a text to our website that includes images selected by the author, a short bibliography, citation reference, and endnotes pointing to the author’s references.