Robert Smithson. A Heap of Language. 1966

Robert Smithson

A Heap of Language


Pencil on graph paper
6 1/2 × 22" (16.5 × 55.9 cm)
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
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Robert Smithson has 66 works  online.
There are 15,095 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

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