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Musings on Land Art

Today's thought

Upon doing the research on Robert Smithson's iconic work of 1970 "Spiral Jetty," it hit me that Yves Klein's "signing the sky" in 1946 can actually be seen as an early intervention in the realm of land art....

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Portrait of Yves Klein during the shooting the documentary of Peter Morley "The Heartbeat of France". Studio of Charles Wilp, Dusseldorf, Germany, February 1961. Copyright Charles Wilp / BPK, Berlin. 


“As an adolescent I wrote my name on the back of the sky in a fantastic realistico-imaginary journey, stretched out on a beach one day in Nice … I have hated birds ever since for trying to make holes in my greatest and most beautiful work! Away with the birds!”


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Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) is a site-specific sculpture that is located at Rozel Point on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Made of black basalt rocks, salt crystals, earth, and water, Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long coil, measuring approximately 15 feet wide, that stretches into the lake. The fractured rocky landscape and changing water levels of the Great Salt Lake appealed to Smithson’s interest in entropy, where the forces of nature can change the work at any moment in time. (

In addition to both artists' preocupation with the elements, as well as with conceptual considerations mainly having to do with "the immaterial," Klein and Smithson only appeared on earth for a very short time, much like meteorites of which the fiery tails still light our sky! Yves was born in 1928, and Robert only ten years later, in 1938. Both died prematuerly in their mid-thirties.

I wonder if they ever met, before rejoining the hereafter.... Maybe Virgnia Dwan introduced them, as she championed both artists in the 60's and 70's!


Food for thought...