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Symposium - Robert Smithson: A Crystalline World


Saturday 25 August 2018, 1-6pm
Monash Art Design & Architecture
Building G, Room G1.04
Monash University, Caulfield Campus
FREE /// This event is fully subscribed and registrations are now closed

Robert Smithson’s influence on the field of contemporary art is significant and wide-reaching. His legacy can be attributed to both the way that he worked and the ideas he worked with. For Smithson, site-based fieldwork and research were essential components of art making, establishing key procedures in contemporary practice. His investigations into science fiction, crystallography, material history and geological time laid foundations for contemporary art’s engagement with ideas of the Anthropocene and non-human time-scales. This symposium considers how and why aspects of Smithson’s thinking from the 1960s and early ‘70s are being taken up by artists working today.


(MUMA will be open from 12pm)

1:00pm - Welcome, Charlotte Day, Director, MUMA

1:10pm - Entropy and the archive, Dr Amelia Barikin and Professor Chris McAuliffe

2:00pm - Spiral Jetty, Dr Nicholas Mangan, artist

2:45pm - Break

3:15pm - Spiral Jetty and Warburg’s Mnemosyne, Professor Charles Green

3:45pm - Crystals, Mikala Dwyer, artist

4:15pm - Smithson and Ballard, Jeremy Millar, artist

5:15pm - Conclusion, Francis E. Parker, curator, MUMA

5:30pm - Refreshments in MUMA Foyer


Dr Amelia Barikin
Lecturer in Art History, School of Communication and Arts, The University of Queensland, Brisbane

Amelia Barikin is co-curator of Robert Smithson: Time Crystals. Her research often focuses on art and time. She is the author of Parallel presents: the art of Pierre Huyghe (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2012), and co-editor with Helen Hughes of the edited volumes Tom Nicholson: lines towards another (Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2018)and Making worlds: art and science fiction (Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2013).

Professor Chris McAuliffe
Professor (Practice-led research), School of Art & Design, Australian National University, Canberra

Chris McAuliffe is co-curator of Robert Smithson: Time Crystals. An Australian art historian, he is the former Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne (2000-13). In 2013, he was curatorial consultant for the exhibition America: painting a nation at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. He has curated numerous major exhibitions and published extensively, including on the work of Robert Smithson.

Dr Nicholas Mangan
Artist and Lecturer, Art Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne

Alert to both history and science, Nicholas Mangan is a multi-disciplinary artist known for interrogating narratives embedded in a diverse range of objects. In 2016, the Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, co-presented a major survey exhibition, Nicholas Mangan: Limits to Growth, which toured to the KW Institute of Art, Berlin, and the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Other recent solo exhibitions include: Other currents, Artspace, Sydney, 2015; and Ancient Lights, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2015. Mangan has also been included in the exhibitions: The National: new Australian art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2017; Art in the Age of..., Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2015; 2015 New Museum Triennial: surround audience, New York, 2015; Riddle of the burial grounds, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 2015; Rocks, Stones and Dust, University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto, 2015; 9th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2013; and 13th Istanbul Biennial, 2013.

Professor Charles Green
Artist and Professor of Contemporary Art, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne

Charles Green has written Peripheral vision: contemporary Australian art 1970-94 (Craftsman House, Sydney, 1995), The Third Hand: artist collaborations from Conceptualism to Postmodernism (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2001), and (with Anthony Gardner) Biennials, triennials, and documenta (Boston, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). He was the Australian correspondent for Artforum for many years. He is an artist who works in collaboration with Lyndell Brown; they have been engaged in a dialogue with Robert Smithson’s ideas and art all their working lives.

Mikala Dwyer
Artist and Associate Professor, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne

Full of uncertainties and contradictions, Mikala Dwyer’s complex installations never lend themselves to definitive interpretations. She sets up open-ended conversations that draw our attention to the unseen – to invisible materials such as helium, or the voids between her forms, but also to hidden histories and our own highly personal relationships with magic, memory, sexuality and ritual. Dwyer’s recent major solo exhibitions include: Mikala Dwyer: a shape of thought, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2017; Square Cloud Compound, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2016; and Goldene Bend'er, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2013. She has also participated in the recent exhibitions: 19th Biennale of Sydney: you imagine what you desire, 2014; The end of the 20th century. the best is yet to come. A dialogue with the Marx Collection, Hamburger Banhof, Berlin, 2013; Riddle of the burial grounds, Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, Belgium, 2016; and Hall of half life, GrazMuseum, Graz, Austria, 2015.

Jeremy Millar
Artist and Senior Tutor, Royal College of Art, London

Jeremy Millar is an artist based in London, where he is Pathway Leader in Critical Practice and also Senior Tutor, Writing at the Royal College of Art. Millar’s recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: Machines à penser, Fondazione Prada, Venice, 2018; Metaphoria III, Le centquatre-Paris, 2018; and The other dark: Tacita Dean, Jeremy Millar, and Nashashibi/Skaer, Sirius Art Centre, Cobh, Ireland, 2017. His collaboration with Siobhan Davies Dance, material / rearranged / to / be, premiered at Barbican Curve, London in 2017 and is touring to Tramway, Glasgow; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Bluecoat, Liverpool. He has also curated numerous exhibitions and contributed to various publications internationally.

Robert Smithson: Time Crystals
is a partnership between The University of Queensland Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art.
The exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The exhibition has been developed in cooperation with the Holt/Smithson Foundation.

Image: [Robert Smithson, Bayonne, New Jersey] c. January 1969
Photograph: Nancy Holt negative gelatin silver photograph 17 x 17 cm
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
© Holt-Smithson Foundation/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

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