Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is the first exhibition in Australia dedicated to the work of American artist Robert Smithson (1938–1973). Best known for his radical land art of the 1960s and early 1970s, in the years since his untimely death Smithson has come to be recognised as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.
Opening at Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA on 21 July, Time Crystals brings together key works of sculpture, film, photography, drawing, prints and texts. Drawing on loans from major international and Australian institutions, the exhibition – presented in collaboration with the University of Queensland Art Museum – features over 80 items, almost all of which have not been seen previously in Australia.
At the heart of the exhibition are sketches, preparatory drawings, correspondence, photographs, and handwritten manuscripts drawn from the largest ever loan from the Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt Papers, held at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
Co-curated by Dr Amelia Barikin (The University of Queensland) and Professor Chris McAuliffe (Australian National University), the exhibition and its accompanying publication feature new archival research into Smithson’s practice.
“We are delighted to be working with the University of Queensland Art Museum and guest curators Dr Amelia Barikin and Professor Chris McAuliffe,” says MUMA director Charlotte Day.
“Not only is it significant to be able to present an exhibition of the remarkable Robert Smithson in Australia but this exhibition has also involved original research into his archives and presents exciting new insights into the artist himself and new interpretations of his practice,” Day says.
The exhibition title, Time Crystals, reflects Smithson’s imaginative approach to temporality, McAuliffe says.
Accompanied by a program of public events, Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is at Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA from 21 July to 22 September 2018. The exhibition was shown at UQ Art Museum from 10 March to 8 July.