Robert Smithson Drawings in Paris

On October 19, 2022 the Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations present the two-part exhibition Humpty \ Dumpty, a project by artist Cyprien Gaillard.

Across two sites, Gaillard offers a reflection upon time—its traces, its effects, and the relationships that humans form with it. Inspired by the current moment where Paris is restoring its most prestigious monuments whilst erasing marks of wear and tear in preparation for the Olympic Games, Gaillard reveals how the city acts a privileged terrain for the expression of entropy and how, in turn, humans seem compelled to fight against this process.

In Humpty \ Dumpty at Palais de Tokyo, Gaillard has made a careful selection of fifteen Robert Smithson drawings from the Foundation’s collection, which he made between 1960 and 1963. Rarely seen, this selection of works on paper reveals his enduring concerns with entropy.

In 1972 Smithson described these as being “phantasmagorical drawings of cosmological worlds somewhat between Blake and a kind of Boschian imagery.” These drawings show Smithson’s roots, his ideas in progress; they are a raw, unfettered analysis of the idea of modernism and systems of knowledge. There are trees, spirals, forking paths, language, pulsating forms stretching beyond arboreal and human bodies, knots of limbs, and Smithson chose titles such as ChaosDiseaseDevil, and Usury for these exploratory works.

See more of the works in the exhibition here.

Robert Smithson, Untitled (1961)
Pencil and watercolor on paper
12 5/8 x 14 7/8 in. (32.1 x 37.8 cm)
Courtesy Holt/Smithson Foundation and Marian Goodman Gallery
© Holt/Smithson Foundation / Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York

Archived News

Research Fellowship Webinar with Rory O'Dea

Join us on Thursday October 13th for a webinar by 2022 Holt/Smithson Research Fellow, Rory O'Dea.
Rory will share his research surrounding Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt's time and work in the Pine Barrens, NJ.

2022 Research Fellow: Margo Handwerker

We are delighted to announce our second 2022 Holt/Smithson Foundation Research Fellowship awardee: Margo Handwerker. 

Margo Handwerker is Chief Curator and Director of the Texas State Galleries at Texas State University. Handwerker holds a Ph.D. from the School of Architecture at Princeton University and a Masters in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of M12 STUDIO, a group of artists, researchers, and writers collectively based in Big Springs, Nebraska.

First Annual Holt/Smithson Foundation Lecture

We are very pleased to announce the first in a ten-year series of Annual Lectures, a new Holt/Smithson Foundation program that invites artists, writers, and thinkers to extend the creative legacies of Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson.

Virginia Dwan (1931-2022)

At Holt/Smithson Foundation we are honored that Virginia Dwan served on our Board of Directors from 2018 until her passing on September 4, 2022. Her wisdom, humor, curiosity, warmth, attention to detail, and vast expertise has contributed immensely to our young foundation. We will miss her a great deal.