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Artforum, September 1969

Cover of Artforum, September 1969. Robert Smithson, Yucatán Mirror Displacements (1-9) (detail), 1969.

MY LUNCH PERIODS IN JUNIOR HIGH were rarely spent in the cafeteria or out on the playground. The quiet library was the preferred destination (along with the reedy woods behind the football field, where I discovered other loners, stoners, and perverts.) Just shy of thirteen in September 1969, I came across a magazine I had never seen before, Artforum, and was struck dumb by the cover: mirrors wedged into piles of rocks, sand, and dirt on a scrubby ground. It didn’t look anything like the other art magazines in the library, such as Artnews (not very exciting, but it was there), Popular Photography (ditto), a crafts magazine (I wasn’t yet ready for adventures in basketry), and Studio International (English, its large format declaring its importance). I distinctly recall a 1970 issue of Studio with a double-page spread by Gilbert & George—photo portraits of the artists captioned

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