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Robert Smithson quotes (34)

A vacant white room with lights is still a submission to the neutral. Works of art seen in such spaces seem to be going through a kind of esthetic convalescence.
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A work of art when placed in a gallery loses its charge, and becomes a portable object or surface disengaged from the outside world.
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Abstraction is everybody's zero but nobody's nought.
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An emotion is suggested and demolished in one glance by certain words.
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Art history is less explosive than the rest of history, so it sinks faster into the pulverized regions of time.
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Art's development should be dialectical and not metaphysical.
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Artists are expected to fit into fraudulent categories.
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Artists themselves are not confined, but their output is.
Robert Smithson   Category: Art

Banal words function as a feeble phenomena that fall into their own mental bogs of meaning.
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Cultural confinement takes place when a curator imposes his own limits on an art exhibition, rather than asking an artist to set his limits.
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From the top of the quarry cliffs, one could see the New Jersey suburbs bordered by the New York City skyline.
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History is a facsimile of events held together by finally biographical information.
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History is representational, while time is abstract; both of these artifices may be found in museums, where they span everybody's own vacancy.
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I am for an art that takes into account the direct effect of the elements as they exist from day to day apart from representation.
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Instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments seem to cause us to forget the future.
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Language operates between literal and metaphorical signification.
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Language should be an ever developing procedure and not an isolated occurrence.
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Language should find itself in the physical world, and not end up locked in an idea in somebody's head.
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Language thus becomes monumental because of the mutations of advertising.
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Mistakes and dead-ends often mean more to these artists than any proven problem.
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Museums are tombs, and it looks like everything is turning into a museum.
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Nature does not proceed in a straight line, it is rather a sprawling development.
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Nature is never finished.
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Objects in a park suggest static repose rather than any ongoing dialectic. Parks are finished landscapes for finished art .
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Painting, sculpture and architecture are finished, but the art habit continues.
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Parks are idealizations of nature, but nature in fact is not a condition of the ideal.
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Questions about form seem as hopelessly inadequate as questions about content.
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Some artists imagine they've got a hold on this apparatus, which in fact has got a hold of them. As a result, they end up supporting a cultural prison that is out of their control.
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The museum spreads its surfaces everywhere, and becomes an untitled collection of generalizations that mobilize the eye.
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The museums and parks are graveyards above the ground- congealed memories of the past that act as a pretext for reality.
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The scenic ideals that surround even our national parks are carriers of a nostalgia for heavenly bliss and eternal calmness.
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Visiting a museum is a matter of going from void to void.
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When a finished work of 20th century sculpture is placed in an 18th century garden, it is absorbed by the ideal representation of the past, thus reinforcing political and social values that are no longer with us.
Robert Smithson   Category: Gardening

Words for mental processes are all derived from physical things.
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