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Christopher BenfeyAn autodidact who never went to college, Smithson -- expertly discussed in Robert Smithson -- drew on his prodigious reading, from his pediatrician (the doctor-poet William Carlos Williams) to visionary artists such as William Blake and William Butler Yeats. His early paintings were incendiary celebrations of Dante's inferno and Roman Catholicism. Moving, as Eugenie Tsai, a critic and an editor of this exhibition catalog, says, ''from theology to geology,'' Smithson became a modern-day mound builder in both earthworks and words. Richard Sieburth aptly describes Smithson's handwritten work ''A Heap of Language'' as a ''verbal tumulus'' of synonyms for language, ''built not from the bottom up but from the top down.''
— The New York Times