[-empyre-] Re: Nonsite as information

John Haber jhaber at haberarts.com
Mon Jan 14 02:17:47 EST 2008


Brett was provocative, in part because it takes things where I'm not 
going to go. I'm not sure what to think about the sublime, but I like 
positioning the work specifically within the critical terms of its time, 
of sculpture in the expanded field.

I hadn't really thought about his career as moving away from nonsites, 
other than just a token mental acknowledgment that it all seems to come 
together with those last big earthworks. I wouldn't put this in an 
article, because who cares what I like, but one reason Smithson was hard 
for me (other than friends who'd wave around old issues of "Artforum" 
like the Dead Sea Scrolls) was that the triangular and other 
arrangements of metal bins pretty much bored me. It was the first time I 
saw the film of "Spiral Jetty" that just overpowered me.

Maybe I needed not just the site, but some hints of Romanticism like 
earth movers in action, fading sunlight, and especially he himself along 
the jetty.  That and when, during the retrospective, they set out the 
tugboat for "Floating Island," standing in Hudson River Park (which 
didn't exist, of course, when he imagined the project) and then a few 
days later jogging along the East River to see if I could outrun it.  (I 
more or less kept up.) 

John


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