I was not in class the day this was presented, but I thought I'd look over the slide shows that were used in the presentations and post my thoughts on what I thought about it.
I really loved the first two works from his early period that were given. I think some of the shapes and forms of this period reflects into his later work. I thought the first clip we were give was kinda funny that he just seemed to randomly decides to become an artist. This kind of thinking about art is something that I think is shown in many different performance artists as well. They show a kind freedom and pure, emotional response to things and seem to try and get that same sort of response out of others. I really liked the Mirror Displacement work. I think that it really makes you redefine spaces around you and I like that it makes you look at the sky in the photographs as much as it is the earth. Smithson's Spiral Jetty was simply beautiful to me. It reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy in some respects that he used nature to make natural shapes in natural environments. I thought his final quote was interesting as well. There is something about going to a certain place in order to fully experience that thing. Just like seeing work online is never the same thing as being up close and in person to a work of art. Which I think leads me to the next artist.
Walter de Maria
This artist shares many similarities to Robert Smithson with his free-will mentality and total experience of art. Though it seems that Walter de Maria is much more adamant about this. He seems to value time spent around the art and in-the-moment experience. I think the Lightning Field had a really great video to it. The person taking the film was really great at explaining his experience and what the field was like to him (calming, expansive, with buffed 22ft steel rods). It looked like a beautiful place to go. I think the Earth Room wasn't so much interesting in itself (though now I really really want to go see it because I can't any other way), but more so because the man that works there seems fascinating. He, himself, seems very earthy and zen and seems to really understand Walter de Maria's work completely.
Cristo and Jeanne-Claude
I love this collaborative group... partially because they are a freaking adorable couple. (Plus Jeanne-Claude's red hair is fantastic.) I watched the entire interview with them that was given in the slide show. It really gave me a better idea of who they are and why they do what they do. I thought the next video was important because it talks about the large amounts of money needed and how they spend it and peoples reactions that are very volatile against the projects. This video also shows an interesting dynamic between the two. It is interesting that Cristo started out as the artist and Jeanne-Claude is the one that joined later because she seems to fight the hardest for their work. I think what makes them great as a team is that they believe in their work so much that they give everything they have into their art. They really push at boundaries and thoughts about art and what it should be. I think that the idea of covering things in fabric such as sculptures/monuments, and natural structures is really interesting. It kind of demonstrates the beauty of having art and nature there by showing them dressed up or covered in fabric (especially with the bright colored fabric). I also like that they recycle the materials and try to return the space to its original form after the art is done.