Robert Smithson: Time Crystals

 time crystals

10 March – 8 July 2018
UQ Art Museum, Brisbane 

21 July – 22 September 2018
Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 

Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is the first exhibition in Australia dedicated to the work of American artist Robert Smithson (1938–1973). Best known for his radical land art of the 1960s and early 1970s, Smithson is now widely recognised as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Inspired by ideas of crystalline geometry and non-biological time, he redefined abstraction and challenged art history, declaring that ‘Nature gives way to the incalculable cycles of nonduration.’

Featuring new research on the artist’s practice, Time Crystals presents sculpture, photography, film, drawings and texts borrowed from major Australian and international collections. It also includes the most extensive display of Smithson’s manuscript and archival material to date drawn from the Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt Papers at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.  

Curators: Dr Amelia Barikin (The University of Queensland) and Professor Chris McAuliffe (Australian National University)

Robert Smithson 
Yucatan Mirror Displacements (1–9) (1969) (detail)
nine unique chromogenic prints from chromogenic slides (126 format)
61 x 61 cm
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee and with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council and Executive Committee Members: Edythe Broad, Henry Buhl, Elaine Terner Cooper, Linda Fischbach, Ronnie Heyman, Dakis Joannou, Cindy Johnson, Barbara Lane, Linda Macklowe, Brian McIver, Peter Norton Foundation, Willem Peppler, Denise Rich, Rachel Rudin, David Teiger, Ginny Williams and Elliot K. Wolk, 1999.
Photo: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource, NY 
© Holt-Smithson Foundation/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017.




Friday 9 March 6.15 for 6.30 pm
opened by
Lisa Le Feuvre
Executive Director, Holt-Smithson Foundation

Public Programs

Clive Murray-White Smokework  
Friday 9 March 5.45 pm

Prior to the opening of Robert Smithson: Time Crystals join us for the restaging of Clive Murray-White’s Smokework (previously titled Smokebomb sculpture) 1971 on the lawn in front of the Forgan-Smith Tower, adjacent to the UQ Art Museum.

Saturday 10 March 11.00 am
Exhibition curators Amelia Barikin and Chris McAuliffe in conversation, chaired by Lisa Le Feuvre, inaugural Executive Director of the Holt-Smithson Foundation.

Saturday 2 June 1.00 – 6.00 pm
Symposium featuring national and international Smithson scholarsand exhibition curators.

Exhibition Catalogue

Purchase the exhbition catalogue here


  • View media release here
  • Download images for news and review here






Robert Smithson: Time Crystals is a partnership between The University of Queensland Art Museum and Monash University Museum of Art.


This 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. 

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Annual sponsor: