Mirror Construction, Mirror Stratum, Robert Smithson

Mirror Stratum, 1966, Robert Smithson, image via moma

Robert Smithson's Mirror Stratum is a longtime favorite of mine. These crystalline and strata sculptures are like abstracted geological or topographical structures, which is awesome enough. But these mirror [there's at least one Glass Stratum piece, too, and a glass-and-map Stratum] stacks have this material simplicity, like a found object, that I really like.

MoMA has one [above] that's 44 decreasingly smaller square mirrors, the largest of which is 25.5 inches on a side, all stacked on a pedestal. MCA Chicago has one, too, I see, with 32 mirrors, which sits closer to the floor. And it looks a little beat. Let's call it a patina.

But my favorite favorite Mirror Stratum, which I've only ever seen once, is not designed to sit on a pedestal, but on a desk. It's an adorable little stack of 20 mirrors, just 8.5 inches square and 5 inches high, which looks like the top half of the larger, earlier versions.

And in the Jan/Feb 1968 issue of Art in America, I found a great ad for it. It was made by Multiples, Inc., Marian Goodman's editions publisher, in a stated edition of 25. Though it's not clear to me whether the entire edition was actually produced. One of these days I should check. What I do know, is that I wish I'd picked one up back when they were $125 [or an inflation-adjusted $808].


Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: July 16, 2011.

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