PRINT Summer 1998


One Saturday in September 1967, Robert Smithson, equipped with a Kodak Instamatic and a copy of Brian Aldiss’ science-fiction novel Earthworks, took a No. 30 bus out of Port Authority, bound for Passaic, New Jersey. Passaic is, to put it mildly, an unprepossessing burg, a transit corridor between Smithson’s two childhood homes, Rutherford and Clifton. Famously, Smithson had been assisted into the world by Rutherford’s kindly pediatrician-poet, Dr. William Carlos Williams, author of the epic Paterson, which ponders the Passaic River, its falls, its power, its prehistory and history, and the social, economic, and spiritual consequences of that history. Smithson was on his way to consider the further corruption of those consequences.

He got off the bus just past the bridge that leads into town from Highway 3. He had found his first monument, the bridge itself. “Noonday sunshine cinema-ized

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1998 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.