PRINT October 1976

Site Inspection

THIS IS AN ARTICLE based on visits to the sites of Earthworks in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Utah. I am not an enemy of the culture of reproductions, but the documentation of large outdoor sculpture, intimately bound to the landscape, presents exceptional difficulty to photographs. They have their own conventions, for one thing, and for another, some of the works I suspected were being embalmed in single images. This turned out to be the case: the photographs of Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp that are usually reproduced were taken when the creek it stands in was dammed up. In fact it belongs half in the water, for Smithson allowed for seasonal variations in the state of his sculptures. He assumed multiple states, not just one. The sculptures by Walter de Maria, Michael Heizer, and Smithson that I visited are all site-specific, in that they have been located by the artists in places that

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