Robert Smithson letter to Nancy Holt
In 1961, at twenty-three, Robert Smithson travelled to Rome for his solo show of religious-themed paintings at George Lester Gallery. During his stay in Rome, Smithson was able to further explore his interest in Western history – in what he described as byzantine art, ideas of archetype, myth, and anthropomorphism, and what he named the “façade of catholicism”. This period is also marked by what Smithson described as an artistic and spiritual “inner crisis”.
The following is the letter Smithson wrote, while in the Eternal City, to his wife Nancy Holt, and in which are religious and apocalyptic imagery, illustrations of a broken column, nude figures, the mythical she-wolf who fed Romulus and Remus, and in the bottom-left corner of the paper, the four words, “Rome is still falling”, from which the exhibition, running through 21 May 2023 in the REHEARSAL section, takes its title.