America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in America Is Hard to See. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

745David Smith, Hudson River Landscape, 1951


David Smith (1906–1965), _Hudson River Landscape_, 1951. Welded painted steel and stainless steel, 48 3/4 × 72 1/8 × 17 5/16 in. (123.8 × 183.2 × 44 cm). Unique. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase 54.14 Art (c) Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

CANDIDA SMITH: I am Candida Smith. I'm reading from a passage my father David Smith wrote on points of departure, in particular points of departure for the sculpture Hudson River Landscape.

"Hudson River Landscape started from drawings made on a train between Albany and Poughkeepsie. A synthesis of drawings from ten trips, going and coming over this seventy-five mile stretch. On this basis I started a drawing for a sculpture. As I began, I shook a quart bottle of India ink. It flew over my hand, it looked like my landscape. I placed my hand on the paper, and from the image this left, I traveled with the landscape to other landscapes and their objectives, with additions, deductions, directives which flashed past too fast to tabulate but whose elements are in the finished sculpture. No part is diminished reality. The total is a unity of symbolized reality, which to my mind is far greater reality than the river scene.

Is my work Hudson River Landscape, the Hudson River, or is it the travel, the vision, the ink spot? Does it matter? The sculpture exists on its own. It is the entity. The name is an affectionate designation of the point prior to travel. My objective was not these words or the Hudson River, but to create the existence of a sculpture. Your response may not travel down the Hudson River, but it may travel on any river, or on a higher level."