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Image of Torn Photograph from the 2nd Stop (Rubble) (2nd Mountain of Six Stops on a Section)

Robert Smithson , (Jan 2, 1938–Jul 20, 1973)

Torn Photograph from the 2nd Stop (Rubble) (2nd Mountain of Six Stops on a Section)

© Multiples, Inc. 1970

Medium and Support: one photographic reproduction torn into four sheets in a glassine envelope
Credit Line: museum purchase
Accession Number: 1990.155.17a-e

Commentary

In the late 1960s, the definition of art was expanding. Challenging the assumption that their role was to create material objects, artists explored ways to go beyond the notion of art as object to incorporate language and idea into their work. Carrying over into the field of photography, this experimentation led to an opening up of the field, pushing the focus beyond carefully composed frames and fine art master prints to also include quickly captured images that functioned as documents or indexes.

Essentially a boxed exhibition, this portfolio, compiled and published in 1970 by Marian Goodman’s Multiples, Inc., assembled works by nineteen prominent artists of the time, the majority of whom are now recognized as some of the most important artists of the latter part of the 20th century and as leaders of Conceptual Art, Land Art, or Pop Art. Representing a wide range of approaches and uses, the portfolio’s varied contents—photographs, prints, texts, and artist books—reflect the multiplicity of movements occurring in the late 1960s as well as the reconsideration of the relationship between art and the photograph. While some of the artist’s “photos” are evidence of absent works (like Robert Smithson’s images of Earthworks and Christo’s images of his wrapped tower project), others (like Warhol’s celebrity portraits and Robert Rauschenberg’s sculptural Revolver) are works of art in themselves, and still others (like Robert Morris’s images of diagrams and sketches) serve as documents of documents.

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