fbpx
A sculpture of red soil and rocks on top of a mirror bisected by two other mirrors.
Robert Smithson
Nonsite (Essen Soil and Mirrors), 1969

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Nonsite (Essen Soil and Mirrors)
Artist name
Robert Smithson
Date created
1969
Classification
sculpture
Medium
soil and twelve mirrors
Dimensions
36 in. × 72 in. × 72 in. (91.44 cm × 182.88 cm × 182.88 cm)
Date acquired
2000
Credit
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis and the Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Collectors' Forum, Doris and Donald Fisher, Patricia and Raoul Kennedy, Elaine McKeon, Helen and Charles Schwab, Norah and Norman Stone, and Robin Wright
Copyright
© Estate of Robert Smithson / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/2000.572.A-P
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

Where does this dirt come from?

Show TranscriptHide Transcript

transcripts

SFX: sounds of shoveling dirt, pouring dirt, dirt sifting down and falling in lumps. 

 

CAITLIN HASKELL:  

The dirt comes from Essen, Germany. And that’s important, you know? If-If we run out of dirt, this particular batch of dirt, we have to go back to Essen and gather more of it.  

 

NARRATOR:  

You’d think: dirt is dirt. But the artist, Robert Smithson, was interested in taking the very essence of one place, and bringing it to another. I’ll let curators Sarah Roberts and Caitlin Haskell describe it.  

 

HASKELL:  

There is sort of a sense that … that we’re in San Francisco, but there’s a little piece of Germany that’s right here, too.  

 

SARAH ROBERTS:  

That’s sitting right here on the floor with us, and that there’s kind of this meta-connection in some way to another place, which is where the title comes from: … Non-Site.  

 

HASKELL:  

And what’s also fascinating, too, is that … you feel like you’re seeing the dirt that’s in the gallery with you; but a lot of times you’re seeing the mirror reflection of it –  

 

ROBERTS:  

Right.  

 

HASKELL: 

It’s an illusion that looks very real. So I think stand back, take it in as a whole, and then get close.  

 

ROBERTS/HASKELL MELANGE: [with laughter]  

Don’t touch it! Don’t touch the dirt! Don’t touch the dirt! Don’t eat the dirt!  

Read MoreCollapse

Español

普通话

Other Works by Robert Smithson

See other works by Robert Smithson

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.