Beginning with the exhibition titled “Savremena umetnost u SAD” (“Modern Art in the United States”), which was held in the summer of 1956 at the Art Pavilion in Kalemegdan, up until the end of the seventies, a multitude of significant exhibitions were held in Belgrade as offered by American institutions through the United States Information Agency (USIA). One could conclude that another such packet of “public diplomacy” had arrived with Robert Smithson’s retrospective exhibition, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (then MSU, today MSUB) in the fall of 1983; however, this was not the case. Although the American government supported the exhibition, the idea for the exhibition came, above all else, from an initiative that was set into motion by two experts: Robert Hobbs, the curator of the exhibition and professor at Cornell University; and Professor Ješa Denegri, who, at that time, was the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. As such, unlike earlier projects and exhibitions the American side unilaterally offered, this exhibition arose based on the interest of both parties. For the history of art in Yugoslavia and Serbia, it is important to mention that Smithson’s retrospective was the one and only retrospective exhibition of any artist related to the New Art Practice movement that was in Belgrade in the 20th century.
- 1973 -
Robert Smithson dies in a helicopter crash near Amarillo, Texas, along with his cameraman and pilot, while filming the artist’s final work, Amarillo Ramp.
- 1980 -
Robert Smithson’s retrospective exhibition at in the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The curator of the exhibition is Robert Hobbs.
- 1981 -
Cornell University Press publishes the monograph Robert Smithson—Sculpture with texts by Robert Hobbs, Lawrence Alloway, John Coplans, and Lucy R. Lippard.
- 1982 -
Smithson’s retrospective is taken to the American Pavilion at the 40th Biennale in Venice. The curator of the exhibition is Robert Hobbs. At this event Hobbs meets the curator of the Yugoslavian Pavilion, Ješa Denegri, which brings about the idea for the exhibition to be taken to Belgrade in the following year.
- 1983 -
From September 1 through October 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, the exhibition Robert Smitson: Retrospektivni pregled (Robert Smithson: A Retrospective View) is held. The United States Information Service (USIS) and the Republic’s Association for Culture of the Socialist Republic of Serbia (Republička Zajednica Kulture Socijalističke Republike Srbije) support the exhibition.