Gravel Mirrors with Cracks and Dust
Be the first to vote…
ebrowne's picture


You know the saying, “It’s all smoke and mirrors.” Well this artwork is just gravel and mirrors.

Six piles of gravel reflected in twelve mirrors that make a corner on the floor, to be specific. It’s magical because Smithson has managed to create the illusion of space, within which he creates the illusion of objects.”Symmetrically duplicated by the mirrors, the fissures of cracked glass together with the dust from the gravel mar the pristine reflective surfaces, further complicating the multifaceted interplay of materiality and illusion, presence and absence.” You get this mountain-reflected-on-the-surface-of-still-water vibe despite the fact that reality tells us that these things don’t actually exist. If only he could have done the same thing with Spiral Jetty. He wouldn’t have had to work so large.

This piece, having been made two years before Spiral Jetty, clearly indicated that Smithson was headed towards a very earthy future. Bringing nature into the gallery was definitely the precursor to abandoning the gallery altogether and making work purely outside. Eventually he called all of his pieces that were in museums “nonsites,” which you’ll notice sounds a lot like nonsense. You can imagine, then, his enthusiasm for indoor art. But even though Smithson was known for his Land Art, this was still an incredibly important step for the artist and all artists of the Land Art generation. You could say it rocked, but I hate geology puns and I’m sure those are your sediments exactly.  



  1. Cooke, Lynne. "Art In Context." Web. 9 Feb. 2018.
  2. "Dia | Art | Gravel Mirrors With Cracks And Dust." Web. 9 Feb. 2018.
  3. Ehrgott, Drew. "10 Geology Puns That Will Rock Your World - The Leonardo." The Leonardo. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2018.
  4. Robert Smithson's New Jersey. New Jersey: StateoftheArtsNJ, 2014. video.