Chalk-Mirror Displacement

Large mound of rocks intersected radially by long rectangular mirrors.
Art © Estate of Robert Smithson / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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  • Large mound of rocks intersected radially by long rectangular mirrors.

Date:

1969

Artist:

Robert Smithson
American, 1938–1973

About this artwork

The painter, sculptor, theorist, filmmaker, and photographer Robert Smithson helped pioneer the Earthwork Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, which took as its subject the artistic reordering of the American landscape in its many varied forms. Chalk-Mirror Displacement belongs to a series of works, executed in 1968 and 1969, that combine mirrors and organic materials. Eight double-sided mirrors radiate like spokes from the center of a chalk pile located on the gallery floor. As they slice through the pile, the mirrors separate the chalk into almost identical wedge-shaped compartments. The double reflection in each compartment preserves the illusion of the whole pile, making the mirror dividers appear nearly invisible. This work is also one of Smithson’s Site/Nonsite pieces. The artist referred to the first stage of the work as a “Site Incarnation,” which he created for a particular outdoor location: in this case, a chalk quarry in Oxted, York, England. After setting up and photographing the Site piece, the artist then dismantled it. The materials were subsequently reinstalled in the Nonsite location, the seminal 1969 exhibition When Attitude Becomes Form at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. This process purposefully blurred the boundaries between art and its environment, within and without gallery walls.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art

Artist

Robert Smithson

Title

Chalk-Mirror Displacement

Origin

United States

Date

1969

Medium

Sixteen mirrors and chalk

Dimensions

Appro×imately 10 feet in diameter

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Morris

Reference Number

1987.277

Copyright

Art © Estate of Robert Smithson / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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