The richness and diversity of aesthetic activity of the 1960s and 1970s, 'minimalist art', 'happening art','earth art' and others, has played a significant role in determining the nature of the installation art of today. While all these movements have challenged current perceptions of the nature of art in various ways, they have all made a distinction between the aesthetic space of a work of art and the social space of the world around us. In the 1970s Smithson's (Robert Smithson, 1938-1973) concept of site and non-site was regarded as a 'new concept of space: hereness and thereness'.I view this concept as a narrative of space, that is, an interaction between the 'aesthetic space' which is the confined space of the gallery and the 'social space' which is the space of everyday life outside the gallery.
The narrative of space - 'hereness and thereness', is based on the interaction of two spaces - aesthetic space and social space. From ready-made sculpture to minimalist art, and from happening art to earth art; each art movement has differed in perspective from the next, all have shared an engagement with the interaction between the aesthetic and the social space. All have addressed the questions, 'what is the "object"?', 'how do we know it? and 'what does it mean to know it?'
Bargellesi-Severi, G. (ed) Robert Smithson Slideworks Italy 1997 Carlo Frua
Foster, H. Postmodern Culture London 1985 Pluto Press
Hobbs, R. Robert Smithson: Sculpture New York 1981 Cornell University Press
Krauss, R. E. Passage in Modern Sculpture London 1977 Thames and Hudson