Vol. 14 No. 2 (2021): Finalism in judgment, finalism of judging

Robert Smithson’s aesthetics and the future of Earth Art

Mariya Veleva
Departamento de Alemán, Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Santiago de Chile

Published 2022-01-25


  • Environmental consciousness,
  • Land art,
  • Robert Smithson,
  • Pollution,
  • Postindustrial landscape,
  • Aesthetic reclamation and recreation
  • ...More

How to Cite

Veleva, M. (2022). Robert Smithson’s aesthetics and the future of Earth Art. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 14(2), 147–158. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-12477


Environmental pollution is a global problem today, and together with urbanization closely intertwined with the current pandemic and the challenges facing humanity. This text, based on Robert Smithson’s aesthetic theory and production, intends to show that Earth Art could provide a critical comprehension of industrial culture, could oppose its Gestell (the city may also be seen as Gestell), and sensitize society to the current environmental problems. I also discuss Smithson’s multi-stratified art works, his preference for processes over objects and his critical reflection on museums and galleries as closed and traditional spaces. I suggest that Earth Art has the potential to redefine the relationship between outside and inside, optic and haptic, as well between a «distal, disembodied approach» on one hand and «immediate body experience» on the other. It could be developed more intensively in the future, inasmuch it attracts public to open spaces, thus avoiding possible contagion.


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