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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Wandering Rocks

Photo: Nathaniel Willson

Wandering Rocks


Tony Smith

American, 1912-1980

Mathematical and geometrical structures inherent in molecules and crystals inspired the tetrahedral and octahedral shapes of Wandering Rocks. Tony Smith, who began his career as an architect, was compelled by questions of structure, and by a belief in the mythical and archetypal symbolism of forms. Wandering Rocks finds its title in the wandering of Ulysses in James Joyce's book. The organization of its five parts pays homage to the Royoanji Zen garden in Kyoto, Japan.
Steel, painted black
Smohawk: 23 x 48 3/8 x 28 in.; Shaft: 45 1/2 x 63 3/8 x 28 in.; Crocus: 45 x 43 3/8 x 28 in.; Slide: 23 x 64 3/8 x 28 in.; Dud: 23 x 32 3/8 x 83 1/2 in.
Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: Acquired from the artist; [Fourcade, Droll Inc., New York]; [Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York]; purchased from gallery by Virginia and Bagley Wright, Seattle,1973
Photo: Nathaniel Willson
Now on view at the Olympic Sculture Park

What is my intention? It is a new measure of man….

Tony Smith


Exhibition HistoryPullman, Washington, Fine Art Gallery, Washington State University, Contemporary American Abstract Painting 1960 - 1974, November 1 - 22, 1974

Bellingham, Washington, Western Washington State University, outside art building, September 1975 – Fall 1982

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, 2007- ongoing
Published ReferencesSmith, Kiki, et al. "Not an Object. Not a Monument. The Complete Large-Scale Sculpture of Tony Smith." London: Steidl Publishers MM, 2006, pp. 58-59, 92.

Corrin, Lisa Graziose, et al. Olympic Sculpture Park. Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 2007; reproduced. p. 43.

Kangas, Matthew, "Sculpture", October 2007, Vol 26, No. 8.

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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