Out of Site: Finding Robert Smithson’s New Jersey

Montclair show tours the land artist’s Garden State legacy.

On a frigid morning this past winter, the art historian, critic and curator Phyllis Tuchman was guiding her blue Mercedes sedan through the desolate parking lot of a shopping plaza in Bayonne, N.J., past a Super Stop & Shop, a Starbucks and a Houlihan’s, toward an inlet of the Hudson River.

“God, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she said, as she nonchalantly ignored the markings for parking spots in an attempt to avoid birds that were lounging in front of a tanning salon. “I’m very New Jersey,” she said. “It’s embarrassing.”

 

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