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A Few Notes on Entropy: Robert Smithson's "Glue Pour" @ Abington

Smithson_dikeakos2
Photograph of  Robert Smithson's Glue Pour 1970, by Christos Dikeakos

From a portfolio of 27 selenium-toned prints.
16 x 20 inches each.
Courtesy of Christos Dikeakos
Vancouver, BC

Glue Pour copyright the Estate of Robert Smithson/VAGA (New York/SODART (Montreal) 2004. Photograph copyright Christos Dikeakos.

The exhibition I've co-organized, Out of the Blue at Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA, has on loan a rare Smithson piece, the one piece he made in Canada -- courtesy of Vancouver artist Christos Dikeakos who was there documenting on-site with Smithson, Lucy Lippard, Dennis Wheeler and Ilya Pagonis when they poured the apparently toxic-pink, water-soluble stuff...

Writes Dikeakos (Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition catalogue, 2004):

Like the natural processes of physical erosion, the Glue Pour was made to seep and dissipate into the edge of an urban West Coast forest; its rapid disappearance was an embrace of a state of imperfection. The location of the site is currently identified by two unintentional and ironic markers: a yellow sign that reads "Information" recalling the title of a 1970 MoMA exhibition of conceptual art, and another sign almost at the edge of the pour site. It reads "Do Not Dump Refuse." Today, the site of the Glue Pour is within the domain of an ecological and recreational area named Pacific Spirit Regional Park and the traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation. Under present circumstances, it would be nearly impossible to restage this work. The local, urban citizens -- who idealize nature and the wilderness while neither living in or subsisting from it -- would be outraged and likely mobilize to prevent an "environmental threat" such as glue spillage. [...]

Glue Pour disappeared almost as quickly as it was realized. Today the visible trace of entropy has retreated and the north face of the site has the appearance of a typical West Coast wilderness area, a densley covered place within a stone's throw of upscale, large-lot residences. Ferns, salal and thickets of thorn-ridden blackberry bushes surround the "Do Not Dump Refuse" sign. A grove of semi-native weed trees, willow, alder and poplar are anchored and thriving on the incline of the road cut that Smithson noticed thirty-three years ago.

Text: Christos Dikeakos, "Glue Pour and the Viscosity of Fluvial Flows as Evidenced in Bottle-Gum Glue Pour Jan. 8.1070 9:30 to 11:30." Robert Smithson in Vancouver: A Fragment of a Greater Fragmentation, edited by Grant Arnold. Vancouver Art Gallery, pp. 39-56. Published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition curated by Grant Arnold and presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery from Sept 20, 2004 - Jan 4, 2004. [Link]

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