Smithson, Robert,1938–73, American sculptor, b. Passaic, N.J. After first making modular, serial sculpture, Smithson began to design large-scale earthworks (see land artland art
art form developed in the late 1960s and early 70s by Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, Michael Heizer, and others, in which the artist employs the elements of nature in situ or rearranges the landscape with earthmoving equipment.
..... Click the link for more information. ) in the 1960s. Smithson reshaped the landscape in a way that recalled both the forces of nature and ancient archaeological sites. His major works in this mode include the Spiral Jetty (1970; Great Salt Lake, Utah) and Broken Circle and Spiral Hill (both 1971; in a quarry in Holland). His work is represented in the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Smithson died in an airplane crash while overseeing one of his earthworks.
See Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (1996, ed. by J. Flam); Robert Smithson (2004), comprehensive retrospective ed. by E. Tsai; studies by R. C. Hobbs (1981 and 1983), E. Tsai (1991), G. Shapiro (1995), A. Reynolds (2003), R. Graziani (2004), and J. L. Roberts (2004).