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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. (58.4 x 122.9 x 71.1 cm)
Shaft: 45 1/2 x 63 3/8 x 28 in. (115.6 x 161 x71.1 cm)
Crocus: 45 x 43 3/8 x 28 in. (114.3 x 110.2 x 71.1 cm)
Slide: 23 x 64 3/8 x 28 in. (58.4 x 163.5 x 71.1 cm)
Dud: 23 x 32 3/8 x 83 1/2 in. (58.4 x 82.2 x 212.1 cm)
Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: The artist; [Fourcade, Droll Inc., New York]; [Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York]; purchased from gallery by Virginia and Bagley Wright, Seattle,1974
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, Nov. 1 - 22, 1974.

Bellingham, Washington, Western Washington State University, 1975 - 1982.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, 2007 - ongoing.
Published ReferencesCorrin, Lisa Graziose, et al. Olympic Sculpture Park. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2007; reproduced p. 43.

Smith, Kiki, et al. Not an Object. Not a Monument. The Complete Large-Scale Sculpture of Tony Smith. London: Steidl Publishers MM, 2006; p. 92, reproduced pp. 58-59.

Gates, Mimi Gardner, ed. Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park: A Place for Art, Environment, and an Open Mind. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, in association with University of Washington Press, 2021; p. 104, reproduced pp. 14, 104.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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