There is not one, but ten


There is not one, but ten

[In 1966 Irving Sandler and Barbara Rose sent 10 questions to leading artists. Here are two of Robert Smithson’s replies]

4. Has the condition of the artist changed in the sixties? Has the speed of communication and the increased attention of the mass media made yesterday’s avant-garde today’s academy?

There is not one condition of the artist in the sixties, but ten conditions.

1. The condition of reinterpreting the misinterpreted.
2. The condition of the nonentity.
3. The condition of isolated systems at the dead level.
4. The condition of unkempt bathrooms.
5. The condition of provisional opacity ordered by The Grand Horizontal.
6. The condition of smiling faces.
7. The condition of One Hundred Mass-Mediae.
8. The condition of Standardization.
9. The condition of historical blind spots.
10. The condition of codified nullity.

5. Is there the same split between the avant-garde and the public as formerly? How has this relationship changed?

There is not one split, but ten splits.

1. The split between the eyes
2. The split between the idea of unity.
3. The split between me and you.
4. The split between the Old Masters and the New Masters
5. The Split between the light and the dark.
6. The split between the left and the right.
7. The split between the now and the then.
8. The split between the big and the little.
9. The split between the warm and the cool.
10. The split between the split.

[Smithson, Robert. The Collected Writings. p.330]


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