Acquiring History

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 11:00am to Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 5:00pm
KSU Downtown Gallery

Acquiring History: The 50 Year Legacy of Robert Smithson’s Partially Buried Woodshed at Kent State University

KSU Downtown Gallery, 141 E. Main St., Kent, Ohio

August 4 - September 26, 2020

In January 1970, School of Art students and faculty welcomed Robert Smithson to Kent State University as an artist-in-residence. The event came about through the invitation of several students who wrote to Smithson and invited him, and then worked to make a sculpture during his time on campus. In the years since Robert Smithson visited, his fame and the influence of his artwork has grown. The piece he made here, “Partially Buried Woodshed,” has led an arduous existence and only a very small remnant of it remains. This exhibit celebrates the 50 year legacy of the work and highlights the student led activities that helped make this important moment in the history of art happen.

The exhibition includes video interviews from faculty, documentary photographs, essays on the history of the artwork, and even the largest known remnant of the woodshed. "Partially Buried Woodshed," which was started as a student-initiated project, was the beginning of what is known as "land art" or "earthworks" and was created just months before Smithson's most iconic work "Spiral Jetty."

The exhibition was organized by Gallery Director Anderson Turner and graduate students Simon Tatum and Marissa Tiroly. The exhibition will be on view at Kent State's Downtown Gallery (141 E. Main St.) from August 4 - September 26, 2020. An opening reception will not take place. The exhibition is free and open to the public. An online and printed catalog will be available in addition to an online exhibition. More info TBA.

Gallery Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
(10-11 reserved for our at-risk Guests please) 
Fri & Sat 11:00 am - 5:00 pm 

Closed on Sundays

Image info: (left) Robert Smithson (January 2, 1938 – July 20, 1973), Partially Buried Woodshed, Ink on Frosted Acetate, 1970

(right) Robert Swick, one of the students who organized Smithson’s Artist-in-residence, B/W photo, circa January 1970, By Douglas Moore