Synthesis, Revision, and Creating Art

Temporary Translation

My sister used to tell me that “whatever you put into your head, must eventually come out.” She was speaking of exposing oneself to questionable cultural experiences, such as watching violent movies and placing oneself in unsafe places. However, as I grow older, I think this statement applies more and more to the artworks to which I find myself drawn: drafts and sketches of ideas as they are forming, usually founded on earlier works and other art forms.

This morning, as I reviewed the paintings on which I worked last night, I was remembering Robert Smithson’s sketches and notes (included in the first major retrospective of his art held at MOCA/California in 2004). There is an essay in that catalogue (written by Alexander Alberro) that focuses on Smithson’s library, including his records and ephemeral collections. Alberro explains that the artist’s library, whether it was all consumed by the artist or…

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