A Nonsite (Franklin, New Jersey)

Robert Smithson
Painted wooden bins, limestone, gelatin silver prints, and typescript on paper with graphite and transfer letters, and mounted on mat board
Bins installed:16 ½ × 82 ¼ × 103 in. (41.9 × 208.9 × 261.6 cm); framed: 40 ¾ × 30 ¾ × 1 in. (103.5 × 78.1 × 2.5 cm); sheet: 39 7/8 × 29 7/8 in. (101.3 × 75.9 cm)
Collection: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of Susan and Lewis Manilow

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Scholarly Text

Robert Smithson, "A Nonsite (Franklin, New Jersey)" (1968)

Phyllis Tuchman

In 1968, Robert Smithson realized an important group of works he collectively called Nonsites. This series features bin-like structures in which the artist deposited rocks, sand, broken concrete, and other elements he collected  at various sites in New Jersey. Accompanying these sculptures, Smithson hung on gallery walls photographs he’d snapped at the same Garden State locations, as well as fragments of maps that could lead other people to these places. He repeatedly declared that where he had gathered his materials—whether it was the Pine Barrens, Franklin, Bayonne, or Edgewater—was as much a part of the experience of his endeavor as the freestanding, seemingly independent work.

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