Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson (1938 to 1973) was an American artist famous for his use of photography in relation to sculpture and land art, of which he was an important forerunner. His most famous work is Spiral Jetty (1970), a three-part work whose most important component is a 1,500-foot long spiral-shaped jetty extending into the Great Salt Lake in Utah constructed from rocks, earth, and salt. On July 20, 1973, Smithson died in a plane crash, while surveying sites for his work Amarillo Ramp in the vicinity of Amarillo, Texas. Despite his early death, and relatively few surviving major works, Smithson has a following amongst many contemporary artists. In recent years, Tacita Dean, Sam Durant, Renée Green, Lee Ranaldo, Vik Muniz, Mike Nelson, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation have all made homages to Smithson’s works.