Influenced by Abstract Expressionism and its emotional intensity, his work in 1955-1961 centred around existential experiences of suffering combined with a keen sense of paradox. Five piles of raw materials, ingredients of the building, distributed on the floor in piles equal to the artist’s body weight. a dialogue between 43 allan kaprowand robert smithson (1967) towards the development of an air … Private collection. From the helicopter, which too undergoes etymological deconstruction: ‘from the Greek helix, helikos meaning spiral.’  I would claim that these Classical etymologies are performing the same role for Smithson as the Et in Utah ego pun. Unlike traditional monuments that sought to preserve the memory of historical events or actors into the future through their material permanence and imposing scale, these new monuments, to borrow Smithson’s designation, seemed to compromise their commemorative function by disavowing a commitment to perpetuity. This postmodern and post-medium renewal of sculptural monumentalism emerged in the mid-1960s (the moment, when as Rosalind Krauss has argued, the tenets of modernist autonomy gave way to an array of practices that engaged with the contingencies of site) in the work of artists like Dan Flavin, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Smithson, who produced nominal, if fundamentally ironic, versions of the form. DigitalEssay.net. Robert Smithson, an artist and a writer of “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey (1967)”, observes geologic change and acknowledges nothing is permanent or everlasting. He is the author of Out of Time: Philip Guston and the Refiguration of Postwar American Art. The sound of the helicopter motor became a primal groan echoing into tenuous aerial views. They are evoking the ‘roots’ of words to ground them at the same time as showing the instability or even entropy of language itself. Meyer focused on Smithson because his interest in our return to the Sixties is exemplified by a return to Smithson. At one point in his PowerPoint, Meyer juxtaposed photographs of Trajan’s column in Rome with Smithson’s Woodshed. But where is Smithson gaining his perspective? (You can just make out ‘MAY 4 KENT 70’ in the photo below). The Crystal Land by Robert Smithson- Questions, Robert Smithson's Definition of Monuments. To help with the explanation, Smithson maps entropy by deterritorializing the artificially controlled area and reterritorializing with the natural occurances. I will have to revisit this in the future, although, for now, see below for what I think Louise Lawler has to say on the matter). One of the fundamental characteristics of the monument is its Janus-faced temporality, the way that it simultaneously looks backwards to an event or figure from the past and imagines its material preservation into an unspecified future.