Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hotel Palenque

Robert Smithson
Hotel Palenque, 1969-1972. Thirty-one chromogenic-development slides,
with audio recording, Dimensions variable

Hotel Palenque perfectly embodies the artist’s notion of
a “ruin in reverse.” During a trip to Mexico in 1969, he photographed an old, eccentrically constructed hotel,which was undergoing a cycle of simultaneous decay and renovation. Smithson used these images in a lecture presented to architecture students at the University of Utah in 1972, in which he humorously analyzed the centerless, “de-architecturalized” site. Extant today as a slide installation with a tape recording of the artist’s voice, Hotel Palenque provides a direct view into Smithson’s theoretical approach to the effects of entropy on the cultural landscape.

Nancy Spector