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NYSS is closed to the public Monday, August 15 – Friday, August 19, 2022. The New York Studio School requires an entry survey from all persons who intend to enter the building, please click here to complete this survey each day prior to your arrival.
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Lytle Shaw: Golden Age Smithson 2022-10-12 18:30:00 New York Studio School W 8th Street 60

In the essay “A Sedimentation of the Mind” (1968), Robert Smithson proposes that artists move away from then familiar ideas of cool or hot art toward those of dry, or better, wet art. “The wet mind enjoys ‘pools and stains’ of paint. ‘Paint’ itself appears to be a kind of liquefaction.” Smithson’s immediate reference is […]

Lytle Shaw: Golden Age Smithson

The Evening Lecture Series is free and open to the public. With inquiries, please contact Kara Carmack at kcarmack@nyss.org.

Attributed to Meindert Hobbema, “The Wagon at the Top of the Hill,” n.d. | Robert Smithson, “Asphalt Rundown,” 1969

In the essay “A Sedimentation of the Mind” (1968), Robert Smithson proposes that artists move away from then familiar ideas of cool or hot art toward those of dry, or better, wet art. “The wet mind enjoys ‘pools and stains’ of paint. ‘Paint’ itself appears to be a kind of liquefaction.” Smithson’s immediate reference is color field painting, and its dominant reception within models of instantaneous perception that would minimize these materials, durational aspects of this painting’s physical basis in pooled, poured pigment. While many of Smithson’s sculptures can be imagined as cultivations of the slow pooling and soaking that color field paintings evokes but represses, this lecture will reframe the artist’s one Dutch earthwork — “Broken Circle/Spiral Hill” (1971) — as a surprisingly systematic engagement with arguably the first wet, liquefaction art: Dutch seventeenth-century landscape painting. Linking Smithson’s and the Dutch painters’ aesthetics of land reclamation, the talk will excavate a soggy path through a little-known Golden Age Smithson, locating key precedents for his interest in wet art in the works of Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema, and especially Jan van Goyen, who pooled wet pigment on his panels and gradually pulled recognizable forms out of them, re-enacting the work of Dutch hydraulic engineers.

Lytle Shaw is a New York-based writer and critic whose books include Frank O’Hara: the Poetics of Coterie, The Moiré Effect, Narrowcast: Poetry and Audio Research, and New Grounds for Dutch Landscape. He is a contributing editor for Cabinet Magazine and a professor of English at New York University.

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