Robert Smithson — Primordial Beginnings


Drawing, painting, mixed media

Robert Smithson
Primordial Beginnings

Past: December 1, 2020 → January 9, 2021

Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris and Holt/Smithson Foundation are pleased to announce the first exhibition of Robert Smithson at the Gallery.

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, Robert Smithson (1938-73) recalibrated the possibilities of art. For over fifty years his work and ideas have influenced artists and thinkers, building the ground from which contemporary art has grown. Primordial Beginnings will investigate Smithson’s exploration of, as he said in 1972, “origins and Primordial Beginnings , […] the archetypal nature of things.” This careful selection of works on paper demonstrates how Smithson worked as, to use his words, a geological agent. He presciently explored the impact of human beings of the surface of our planet.

The earliest works are fantastical science fiction landscape paintings embedded in geological thinking. These rarely seen paintings from 1961 point to his later earthworks and proposals for collaborations with industry. Between 1961 and 1963 Smithson developed a series of collages showing evolving amphibians and dinosaurs. Paris in the Spring (1963) depicts a winged boy atop a Triceratops beside the Eiffel Tower, while Algae Algae (ca, 1961-63) combines paint and collage turtles in a dark green sea of words.

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

79, rue du Temple

75003 Paris

T. 01 48 01 70 52 — F. 01 40 27 81 37


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Robert Smithson