About the Class
Ephemeral artworks are creations that are “born to expire.” Truly ephemeral art cannot be re-created or repeated—it’s never the same twice. Echoing the universal cycles of composition and decomposition, ephemeral art relies on documentation and human memory, however precarious, to live on. This course explores artists such as Anya Gallaccio, Adrian Piper, and Robert Smithson, who incorporate impermanence in the conceptualization and production of their works. As a class, we will consider what is lost or gained when art moves beyond the four walls of the museum and gracefully surrenders to the forces of time.
Each week, the main lecture is followed by a 30-minute discussion session that allows students the opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with the instructor and classmates.
Robert Smithson. Spiral Jetty, 1970. Courtesy of Dia Art Foundation. © 2020 Holt/Smithson Foundation and Dia Art Foundation, licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York
TK Smith is a Philadelphia-based writer, art critic, and curator. He is also a PhD candidate in the University of Delaware’s American civilization program. Smith received an MA in American studies and a BA in English and African American studies from Saint Louis University. His research interests lie in American art, material culture, and the built environment, and his writing has been published in Art Papers, Burnaway, and ARTS ATL.