In a Smithson sculpture like Aslphalt Rundown (1969), in which truckload of the viscous material was poured down the gullied slope of a quarry near Rome, Hargreaves saw the expression of this contemporary conception of landscape. Although far from beautiful in any familiar sense, Hargreaves found such work deeply compelling for the way it brought time, gravity, erosion, human commerce, and the physical properties of matter all into play. ‘For the first time,’ Hargreaves recalled, “I understood that designed landscapes could be extraordinarily meaningful. The Smithson works reintroduced the concept of landscape as idea- something lost in the pursuit of the functional landscape- and opened a door to a world not yet fully explored and still expanding.
Robert Smithson, Asphalt Rundown (1969)