Robert I. Smithson, Partially Buried Woodshed, papers and photographs

Finding Aid

Prepared for the Web by Cara Gilgenbach, January, 2002; last updated February 2016
1 record storage box; 1 oversized document case; 1.5 cubic feet, 11th floor

Inclusive Dates: 1970-2015

Historical Note
Land artist Robert I. Smithson (1938-1973) created the Partially Buried Woodshed on the Kent State campus in 1970. Much controversy surrounded the work throughout its existence. In 1975 a portion of the work was set on fire and half of the structure was burned. In January 1984 the remains of the Woodshed were removed from the University.

For more information on this work and its history at Kent State, please refer to the exhibition catalog Robert Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed (Essay by Dorothy Shinn) located in Special Collections. Additional books by and about Robert Smithson are also held in Special Collections and are cataloged in KentLINK.

Scope and Content
This collection contains several photographs of Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed, clippings on the work and Smithson, and other miscellaneous items. Also included are audiotapes and videotapes of a 1990 conference on Robert Smithson held at Kent State University in conjunction with an exhibition in the School of Art Gallery. A significant part of the collection contains art periodicals including articles and illustrations by or about Smithson.

Box 1
Folder -- Contents

Photographs, Documents, Artifact
  1. Apseloff, Glen. 2 photographs (color) of Partially Buried Woodshed, 1982
  2. Apseloff, Stan. 5 photographs (color) of Partially Buried Woodshed site, 1989
  3. Gildzen, Alex. 4 photographs and negatives (color) of Partially Buried Woodshed, 1983
  4. Miscellaneous photographs and negatives, 1990; 2005
  5. Monbarren, Dennis. 1 photograph (b&w) of Partially Buried Woodshed, 1984
  6. Moore, Doug. 15 photographs (b&w) of Partially Buried Woodshed, 1970; 1984
  7. Herlin, Jean-Noel. "Appraisal of Robert Smithson's Archives and Library Donated by Nancy Holt to the Archives of American Art," 1986
  8. Smithson, Robert. Handwritten bequeathment of Partially Buried Woodshed to Kent State University, January 22, 1970 (photocopy).
  9. Clippings on Partially Buried Woodshed and Robert Smithson,1970-95
  10. Shinn, Dorothy. Manuscript of Shinn's essay Robert Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed.
  11. Drawings of Partially Buried Woodshed (photocopies) and correspondence from Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio
  12. Kent State University School of Art. Documents from Partially Buried Woodshed exhibit, April-May 1990
  13. Kent State University School of Art. Exhibition catalog, flyers, and other documents related to Structures of Experience: an exhibition in response to Robert Smithson at Kent State University and Acquiring its own History: a symposium on Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed after 35 Years, March 28th - April 15, 2005.
  14. Center for Land Use Interpretation, Entry for Partially Buried Woodshed (downloaded from Website October 21, 2015)
  15. Artifact: Charred fragment of wood removed from Partially Buried Woodshed following the 1975 fire that destroyed half of the work
    Note: This item is very fragile. Handle with extreme care. This item is located in a smaller box inside of Box 1.

Audiotapes, videotapes, and DVD (in media box inside of box 1)
Tape # -- Contents

  1. Audiotape (cassette): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 1 of 3, 1990
  2. Audiotape (cassette): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 2 of 3, 1990
  3. Audiotape (cassette): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 3 of 3, 1990
  4. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 1 of 3, 1990
  5. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 1 of 3, 1990 copy 2
  6. DVD: Robert Smithson Conference, tape 1 of 3, 1990, DVD copy of VHS
  7. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 2 of 3, 1990
  8. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 2 of 3, 1990 copy 2
  9. DVD: Robert Smithson Conference, tape 2 of 3, 1990, DVD copy of VHS
  10. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 3 of 3, 1990
  11. Videotape (VHS): Robert Smithson Conference, tape 3 of 3, 1990 copy 2
  12. DVD: Robert Smithson Conference, tape 3 of 3, 1990, DVD copy of VHS
  13. DVD: Sheds, 2004 (DVD produced in conjuntion with a retrospective exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art by Persistent Pictures. Running time: 22 minutes.) For viewing only.

Box 2
Periodical articles by and about Smithson

  1. Alloway, Lawrence. "Robert Smithson's development." Artforum, v. 11., no. 3 (November 1972), p. 52-61
  2. Bierman, William. "Burn the woodshed! Spare the woodshed!: a widow's plea, arson, and the old question: what is art?" Beacon [Akron Beacon Journal magazine], July 20, 1975 [illustrations by Chuck Ayers]
  3. Coplans, John. "Robert Smithson: the 'Amarillo Ramp'." Artforum, v. 12, no. 8 (April 1974), p. 36-45
  4. Gildzen, Alex. "Partially buried woodshed" : A Robert Smithson Log." Arts magazine. v. 52, no. 9 (May 1978), p. 118-120. Part of an Arts Magazine Special Issue: Robert Smithson.
  5. Robbin, Anthony. "Smithson's non-site sights." ARTnews, v. 67, no. 10 (February 1969), p. 50-53
  6. "Robert Smithson: Sculpture" photocopy of magazine article about Smithson's work
  7. Smithson, Robert. "The artist does not have to will a response to the 'deepening political crisis in America'." Artforum, v. 9, no. 1 (September 1970), p. 39
  8. Smithson, Robert. "A cinematic atopia." Artforum, v. 10, no. 1 (September 1971), p. 53-55
  9. Smithson, Robert. "Cultural confinement." Artforum, v. 11, no. 2 (October 1972), p. 39
  10. Smithson, Robert. ". . . The earth, subject to cataclysms, is a cruel master." Arts magazine, v. 46, no. 2 (November 1971), p. 36-41
  11. Smithson, Robert. "Entropy and the new monuments." Artforum, v. 4, no. 10 (June 1966), p. 26-31
  12. Smithson, Robert. "Frederick Law Olmsted and the dialectical landscape." Artforum, v. 11, no. 6 (February 1973), p. 62-68
  13. Smithson, Robert. "Incidents of mirror-travel in the Yucatan." Artforum, v. 8, no. 1 (September 1969), p. 28-33
  14. Smithson, Robert. "The monuments of Passaic: has Passaic replaced Rome as the eternal city?" Artforum, v. 6, no. 4 (December 1967), p. 48-51
  15. Smithson, Robert. "Quasi-infinities and the waning of space." Arts magazine, v. 41, no. 1 (November 1966), p. 28-31
  16. Smithson, Robert. "Some void thoughts on museums." Arts magazine, v. 41, no. 4 (February 1967), p. 41
  17. Smithson, Robert. "The sedimentation of the mind." Artforum, v. 7, no. 1 (September 1968), p. 44-50
  18. Smithson, Robert. "Towards the development of an air terminal site." Artforum, v. 5, no. 10 (Summer 1967), p. 36-40
  19. Martin, Richard. "Robert Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed." Arts magazine, v. 51, no. 1 (September 1984), p. 104-105