RP 1971: John Gibson Gallery—who were some of the artists around then? Was anybody else doing things like you? What about minimalism? Robert Smithson?
VA I thought everybody was doing things like I was. I think we all shared the same general concerns, to break out of, and break, the gallery system—to range the way the “Whole Earth Catalogue” ranged—to be as articulate as possible about work so that art wasn’t mystified, to see art as just one system in an interrelated field of systems, to hate the United States, and power, during the Vietnam War.
Minimalism was my father-art. For the first time, I was forced to recognize an entire space, and the people in it (I had to look at the light socket on the wall, just in case, I wasn’t going to play the fool). Until minimalism, I had been taught, or I taught myself, to look only within a frame; with minimalism the frame broke, or at least stretched.
Smithson was probably everybody’s conscience. Maybe because Smithson went outside, I could go inside—I had to go somewhere else—inside myself.