OOSI Sculpture

Partially Buried Woodshed (Removed)

1970-1984 / Robert Smithson / Kent

Woodshed 1.jpg

Robert Smithson, famous land artist behind the Spiral Jetty among other things, came to Kent State University with the intent of creating another one of his "Flow" pieces, where he would let a substance flow down a hill to create a naturally formed earthwork sculpture. Unfortunately, the frigid January weather prevented his intended material, mud, from flowing at all, so Smithson had another idea. He decided to create a piece that demonstrated entropy, or the inevitable decline into disorder that everything will experience eventually. To achieve this end, Smithson ordered an abandoned woodshed on the campus to be buried with tons of dirt until the center beam cracked, ensuring it would collapse. He then asked that it never be interacted with again. His instructions to the caretakers of the piece at Kent State were clear: maintenance of the piece consists of performing no maintenance whatsoever on the piece. Allow the world to destroy and overtake the piece as it would like.

Only a few months after the piece was erected, the Kent State Massacre occurred, and the woodshed was subsequently marked with the date "May 4, Kent 70" linking the shed to that fateful day. The shed was set on fire a few years later by an arsonist and then the University planted a grove of trees around it to prevent passersby from seeing it. In 1984, by an unknown party, the Woodshed was completely torn down to its concrete foundations, which still stand today.

Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed is an important piece in his own oeuvre, but also in the progression of the Land Art psuedo-movement. Questions arise around whether the Partially Buried Woodshed accomplished its task of demonstrating entropy, or whether that idea was ruined by human intervention. Smithson never got to speak at length on the matter due to his premature death in a plane crash in 1973.

Location: Concrete foundations are Southeast of the Liquid Crystals Institute, Summit St.

County

: Portage

Citation

: Robert Smithson, “Partially Buried Woodshed (Removed),” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed May 26, 2018, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/1528.

Dublin Core

Title

Partially Buried Woodshed (Removed)

Description

Robert Smithson, famous land artist behind the Spiral Jetty among other things, came to Kent State University with the intent of creating another one of his "Flow" pieces, where he would let a substance flow down a hill to create a naturally formed earthwork sculpture. Unfortunately, the frigid January weather prevented his intended material, mud, from flowing at all, so Smithson had another idea. He decided to create a piece that demonstrated entropy, or the inevitable decline into disorder that everything will experience eventually. To achieve this end, Smithson ordered an abandoned woodshed on the campus to be buried with tons of dirt until the center beam cracked, ensuring it would collapse. He then asked that it never be interacted with again. His instructions to the caretakers of the piece at Kent State were clear: maintenance of the piece consists of performing no maintenance whatsoever on the piece. Allow the world to destroy and overtake the piece as it would like.

Only a few months after the piece was erected, the Kent State Massacre occurred, and the woodshed was subsequently marked with the date "May 4, Kent 70" linking the shed to that fateful day. The shed was set on fire a few years later by an arsonist and then the University planted a grove of trees around it to prevent passersby from seeing it. In 1984, by an unknown party, the Woodshed was completely torn down to its concrete foundations, which still stand today.

Smithson's Partially Buried Woodshed is an important piece in his own oeuvre, but also in the progression of the Land Art psuedo-movement. Questions arise around whether the Partially Buried Woodshed accomplished its task of demonstrating entropy, or whether that idea was ruined by human intervention. Smithson never got to speak at length on the matter due to his premature death in a plane crash in 1973.

Creator

Date

1970-1984

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

Concrete foundations are Southeast of the Liquid Crystals Institute

Location Street

Summit St.

Installation Date

1970

Creation Date

1970