RUNDOWN, 1969, a film by Bob Fiori, (13 minutes) color, with voice-over by
Nancy Holt, is a film that documents images of Smithson's entropic site
specific pours, Asphalt Rundown, Rome, Italy, 1969; Concrete Pour, Chicago,
November 1969; Glue Pour, Vancouver, January 1969, through the use of
"stills" and filmed footage. This film was completed in 1993.
Asphalt Rundown, Rome, 1969, was Smithson's first "flow", situated in an
abandoned and mundane section of a gravel and dirt quarry in Rome. A large
dumptruck released a load of asphalt down a gutted and gullied cliff already
marked by time. Smithson's flow works, in Nancy Holt's words are "entropy
made visible". Aside from Smithson's interest in working outside of the
gallery walls, he also had a strong interest in Jackson Pollock's abstract
expressionist works. It has been noted by Robert Hobbs that Smithson takes
the drip away from the canvas and monumentalizes it in a slow ooze. Pollock,
who moved the canvas off the easel and onto the floor understood the
monumental gesture in his "action paintings". Smithson, in Hobbs words,
realized his own action painting outdoors. The flows were in some sense a
homage to and walk away from the expressionist mark.
The two flows that followed Asphalt Rundown were Concrete Pour, Chicago,
1969, and Glue Pour, Vancouver, 1969. Concrete Pour was done for the
exhibition "Art by Telephone" for the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
This piece was done by instruction via phone, the concrete was dumped in a steep
ravine embankment where unused concrete was discarded. The piece eventually
merged with the landscape.
Glue Pour, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1969, came into being when Lucy R.
Lippard asked Smithson to participate in an exhibition titled "955,000".
This title refers to the population of the town, as did her previous
exhibition (that Smithson participated in) titled "557,087" which took place
in Seattle. Bright orange glue was poured down an already eroded dirt slope,
again relating to the qualities of abstract expressionist painting but
extending the notion of canvas and material to the earth, the glue, asphalt,
concrete, as the next extension beyond paint.
Reference: Robert Smithson: Sculpture, Robert Hobbs, Cornell University
Cement Flow 1969
Asphalt on Eroded Cliff 1969
Asphalt Rundown October, 1969