Please join us for the English Department's annual faculty lecture: "Golden Age Smithson" by Professor Lytle Shaw.
In the essay "A Sedimentation of the Mind" (1968), Robert Smithson proposes that artists move away from then familiar ideas of cool or hot art toward those of dry, or better, wet art. "The wet mind enjoys 'pools and stains' of paint. 'Paint' itself appears to be a kind of liquefaction. Such wet eyes love to look on melting, dissolving, soaking surfaces." Smithson's immediate reference is color field painting, and its dominant reception within models of instantaneous perception that would minimize precisely these materials, durational aspects of this painting's physical basis in pooled, poured pigment. While many of Smithson's sculptures can be imagined as cultivations of the slow pooling and soaking that color field paintings evokes but represses, Lytle Shaw's lecture will reframe the artist's one Dutch earthwork — "Broken Circle/Spiral Hill" (1971) — as a surprisingly systematic engagement with arguably the first wet, liquefaction art: Dutch seventeenth-century landscape painting. Linking Smithson's and the Dutch painters' aesthetics of land reclamation, the talk will excavate a soggy path through a little known Golden Age Smithson, locating key precedents for his interest in wet art in the works of Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema, and especially Jan van Goyen, who pooled wet pigment on his panels and gradually pulled recognizable forms out of them, re-enacting the work of Dutch hydraulic engineers.
Lytle Shaw is Professor of English at New York University. His books of poetry and fiction include Cable Factory 20 (Atelos, 1999), The Lobe (Roof, 2002), The Moiré Effect (Cabinet Magazine/Bookhorse, 2012), as well as many collaborations with artists: ten with Jimbo Blachly, two with Emilie Clark, and one with Brad Brown. Shaw's critical works on poetry and art include Frank O'Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (University of Iowa Press, 2006), Fieldworks: From Place to Site in Postwar Poetics (University of Alabama Press, 2013), Narrowcast: Poetry and Audio Research (Stanford UP, 2018) and New Grounds for Dutch Landscape (OEI editör, 2021).
Event Attendance Requirements:
- Only NYU students, faculty and staff can RSVP
- All attendees must RSVP
- All individuals must show the Daily Screener green pass screen prior to entry to the building
- Eating and drinking are not permitted indoors, but can be eaten in the patio.
- Everyone must wear a mask/face covering that covers both the mouth and nose at all times.
RSVP for the Annual Faculty Lecture here.
The lecture will start promptly at 6:00 pm, so please arrive a few minutes early to check in. A small reception on the patio will follow, from 7:00-8:00 pm.