new-york

Robert Smithson

International Center for Photography

For Robert Smithson, photography was fraught with ontological complexity, “cameras,” he said, “possess the power to invent many worlds.” Though he made use of a range of photographic media, from serial photography to film, he was always sharply conscious of the danger of being limited by the representational qualities of a given method. He kept his use of photography as open-ended as possible, and while the act of recording a site remained integral to his projects—which were always fluid in conception and often ephemeral in form—in his careful hands it yielded infinitely more than a means of documentation.

The numerous gems in this show of photoworks included pieces documenting seminal projects such as the “mirror displacements,” the Spiral Jetty, 1970, and The Monuments of Passaic, 1967. An extraordinary sequence of slides depicting an array of views of the Hotel Palenque in Mexico—a

Sign-in to keep reading

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

Not registered for artforum.com? 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 May 1994 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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