This is really the old hotel and you can see that instead of just tearing it down at once they tear it down partially so that you are not deprived of the wreckage situation. In three acts of ventriloquism, chaos gives way to formalism. An exhibition of new work by Harrell Fletcher, Corin Hewitt, and Elizabeth McAlpine, Roofless Motifs includes performance, drawings, photographs and video where the spontaneity of performance and the entropic forces of nature push the limits of form. In , Robert Smithson delivered a slide lecture to the architecture students at the University of Utah on Hotel Palenque, a partially demolished construction project he came across in Mexico. Offhand, and at times droll in its delivery, Smithson recounted the beauty and intrigue of the waterless pools, rebar jutting out of demolished concrete walls, and roofless buildings.
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Initially existing as a series of 31 color transparency photographs taken by Smithson during a trip to Mexico, the images were later presented by the artist as a slide lecture to architectural students at the University of Utah in The lecture presentation has since been exhibited as an audio-visual art work in its own right, with the sequence of images synched to an audio recording of the artist's talk.
This latter incarnation of the work was purchased by the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in There, Smithson executed six individual works, including the Yucatan Mirror Displacements  , which were made by installing inch-square mirrors at a range of outdoor sites that were then photographed. These images were reproduced as part of the artist's essay "Incidents of Mirror Travel in the Yucatan", in the September edition of Artforum Magazine.
While in Mexico, the party stayed at the Hotel Palenque, a partially constructed cinder-block hotel building in the town of Palenque, aimed at travelers and tourists visiting the nearby Mayan ruins. Smithson's interest in the semi-ruined state of the hotel has been related to his broader concern with entropic disintegration, and his focus on peripheral sites such as quarries and industrial infrastructure, evidenced in works such as the photo essay "A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, NJ" in which the artist first coined the term 'ruins in reverse.
Smithson was invited to give a talk to a group of architectural students at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in The importance of Hotel Palenque is generally related to Smithson's ongoing concern with processes of entropy , and his overarching project to recontextualize cultural or man-made elements within expanded, sometimes geological, timescales.
As early as , the artist had been giving tours of abandoned mansions in the Passaic area of New Jersey with his wife and friends  ; in his essay "A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects", Smithson wrote of how "The tools of technology become a part of the Earth's geology as they sink back into their original state. Machines like dinosaurs must return to dust or rust.
One might say a "de-architecturing" takes place On the level solely of its images, Hotel Palenque can certainly be aligned to these concerns, but as Guglielmo Bargellesi-Severi and others have noted, Smithson's work is characterized by a sophisticated awareness of "the relationship of territory and the viewing site"  - initially explored in the sculptural relationship of site and nonsite, and evident in Hotel Palenque in his appropriation of the format and conventions of the slide lecture to leverage significant new layers of meaning from his imagery.
Hotel Palenque makes this Mayan lacuna ever more explicit, "you won't see any of those temples in this lecture The entropic forces acting on the Hotel spread to the artist's language and deflect any sense of rational forward momentum to the lecture.
As Neville Wakefield observes:. This dissolution of mental and topographic categories should not be seen as a merely nihilistic gesture, however, but perhaps one arising from the artist's late's milieu "more stoned than stentorian", Wakefield observes of Smithson's lecture style  and the transformative possibilities of altered perception.
In appropriating the Hotel as artwork, Smithson enacts a perceptual shift, somewhat similar to his elevation of the industrial fixtures of New Jersey to the status of 'Monuments'. Greg Allen has observed how this variance in the work's posthumous realizations raises the question of its very status as an artwork. He notes how the work was one of the last holdings of the Smithson Estate when it was sold to the Guggenheim in , alongside nine slides from the artist's Mirror Displacements series which were also never exhibited as standalone works in the artist's lifetime.
Since the work began to be shown again as a tape-slide installation in the 's, Hotel Palenque has gained something of a cult status  among artists and curators, inspiring 'pilgrimages' to the site of the hotel and the production of new artworks.
For his piece Monument to Entropy Hotel Palenque  , Jeremy Millar visited the hotel with his wife and made his own set of photographs. Before leaving, Millar deposited the roll of film in one of the hotel's safety deposit boxes and later exhibited the key, alongside the receipt for the box, as part of the exhibition 'Sleeper,' in Edinburgh in And on his blog Centre For The Aesthetic Revolution, curator Pablo Leon de la Barra writes of his own ten-year obsession with the work, visiting and documenting the hotel in , and for many years trying to see the installation in its slide-tape form.
Robert Smithson’s Hotel Palenque
File:Smithson Robert 1972 1995 Hotel Palenque 1969-1972.pdf
Non-Sensical Non-Site Non-Art?: Smithson’s “Hotel Palenque”