Sunday, April 12, 2009

Herbert Distel's "Museum of Drawers" & Smithson's "Broken Circle" and "Spiral Hill"

"The Museum of Drawers is a former box for reels of sewing silk from an old haberdasher’s shop. It comprises 500 small rooms made up of 20 drawers, each with 25 compartments. Each area measures 2.25” in width, 1 11/16” in height, and 1 7/8” in depth. An original work by a “contemporary” artist is housed in each of the 500 rooms. The whole museum stands on the 501st work of art, the metal base by Ed Kienholz."

This remains one of my favorite books that I discovered this semester with a little Robert Smithson's version of Broken Circle. After careful thought, I decided to take the opportunity to include a few photographs of Broken Circle and Spiral Hill from The Netherlands trip in 2004.

Broken Circle,
August 2004:

Early 1970s:

Spiral Hill, 1971

Broken Circle and Spiral Hill in the distance, August 2004

Broken Circle and Spiral Hill, c. 1971

Thomas Dreher posted some great aerial views (like the one below) here

Encasing Broken Circle in an area 2.25" wide is the antithesis of everything Smithson sought to do with creating the artwork in the first place (removal of the sculpture from the "white cube"). Why not just include a pebble from the location or fill his portion of the Museum of Drawers with dirt as he did in several of his "non site" projects? Anyway... this inclusion is curious and I can't help but think not the best way to interpret a miniature gallery space.

Gypsum Nonsite, 1968

1 comment:

philippe baryga said...

yeah , i remember bathing there, with gigantic fish and the sound of caterpillars in the distance, that wa worth the trip