Robert Smithson. A Heap of Language. 1966

Robert Smithson

A Heap of Language

1966

Medium
Pencil on graph paper
Dimensions
6 1/2 × 22" (16.5 × 55.9 cm)
Credit
Gift of Jan Christiaan Braun in honor of Agnes Gund and Marie-Josée Kravis in appreciation of their extraordinary leadership and dedication to The Museum of Modern Art
Object number
1720.2015
Department
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Robert Smithson has 66 works online.
There are 14,851 drawings online.

Smithson, who made large-scale earthworks in the 1960s and 1970s, also engaged in an active drawing practice. A Heap of Language is both an artwork and a mission statement, marrying the artist's preoccupations with the physical presence of sculpture and the meaning behind language. Written in the artist's elegant cursive on graph paper, words about words "speech," "mother tongue," "Babel" accumulate into a hefty pile, so that thought becomes thing. This drawing attests to Smithson’'s belief that language is a concrete material.

Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.