Robert Smithson, the art world’s Buddy Holly

WHEN Robert Smithson died at 35, in a plane crash in 1973, overseeing one of his earthworks, he gave the art world its own Buddy Holly. Who knows whether he now is, as the excellent touring retrospective freshly arrived at the Whitney advertises, the most influential postwar American artist. But he certainly fascinates a slew of young art worldlings.

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