Internet Activity - handout A
Robert Smithson and James Turrell
Environmental Artists

Teachers Version

You will need to explain to the students that they will need to investigate and read the websites listed for each section. Not every question has a right or wrong answer. Some questions require the students' to analyze and interpret.

Web site title: "Robert Smithson"
Directions for site: Click on picture of Spiral Jetty to enter site.

1. Locate and click the Earthworks link. Locate and click the Spiral Hill link.

When did Robert Smithson build Spiral Hill? Summer 1971

What Environmental elements did Smithson use in Spiral Hill? Earth: black, topsoil, white sand.

How do you think the viewer is supposed to interact with Spiral Hill? The viewer is to walk up the spiral path (answers may vary).

2. Locate and click the Earthworks link. Locate and click the Amarillo Ramp link.

When did Robert Smithson build Amarillo Ramp? 1973

Can you still visit it today? Yes, by contacting Marsh Enterprises.

3. On the same page, locate and click on the Amarillo Ramp link under drawings. Briefly sketch the drawing in the space below.

(Should look somewhat like a horseshoe that is lower at one end and higher at the other (like a ramp))


Web site title: PBS -Art: 21 - James Turrell
Web site address:

4. Read the biography for James Turrell.

Turrell uses what environmental element in his art? Light (or Atmosphere)

Turrell's art allows us to see ourselves see.

5. Under the biography, locate and click on the box labeled "Detail of Atlan."

How does the viewer interact with Atlan? The viewer enters a dimly lit room and stands in front of it; usually the viewer reaches out to touch the blue box.

What does the viewer become aware of as they reach to touch the blue box? The blue box does not exist; there is only space there.

Describe the environmental phenomenon Ganzfeld. Depth, surface, color, and brightness all register to a viewer as a homogenous hue.

Where could you expect to witness a Ganzfeld? Arctic

Would you consider Atlan and environmental artwork? (Varies) Why/Why not? (Answers will vary)

Web site title
: James Turrell: The Roden Crater Project, 1989
Web site address:

6. Notice the picture of the model for Roden Crater and read the information on the page.

What natural entity is Roden Crater fundamentally tied to? Volcano

Why do you think Turrell chose a crater for his work? He wanted a hemispherical dish with a rim at one height (answers could vary).

Briefly describe how the viewer will interact with light in Roden Crater. (Answers will vary)

Would you go see Roden Crater if you could? _____ Why/Why not? (Answers will vary)