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ART OUT OF TIME: THE RELIC AND ROBERT SMITHSON

Glass floor covering soil said to be brought by Saint Helena from Jerusalem, Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome, 2006. Photo: Holly Hayes.

When, in 1968, Robert Smithson loaded the back of a station wagon with rocks from New Jersey and brought them across the Hudson to New York’s Dwan Gallery for one of his non-sites, he was performing a material relocation that would have been familiar to countless medieval pilgrims returning home with relics from holy sites. How can the logic of one such destabilization of place and time elucidate the logic of the other, despite radically disparate circumstances? The seed of this question was planted in 2010 by art historians Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood in their landmark text Anachronic Renaissance. Now Nagel brings this inquiry to modernism. Giving Artforum readers an exclusive preview of his forthcoming book, Medieval Modern, Nagel here examines the spatiotemporal suspensions through which we might see and understand art across a historical distance both remote and

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