Tony Smith, sculptor, architect.
"Some critics went so far as to call Smith the father of Minimal Art. Yet he had been working independently of the initiators of that exciting movement, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Robert Morris. They were similarly unaware of what Smith was doing. "Morris and Judd and all those guys really thought about what they were doing," Smith was quoted as saying. "I never thought about anything that I did. I just did it."
all text taken from artnet article here...
"The story has become one of the most repeated anecdotes in the annals of contemporary art. As Smith told it, the incident sounds much like an occurrence in a Joan Didion novel, hardly the stuff one relates to Minimalism.
According to Smith, "It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks, towers, fumes and colored lights. This drive was a revealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was artificial, and yet it couldn't be called a work of art. On the other hand, it did something for me that art has never done.
"At first I didn't know what it was, but its effect was to liberate me from many of the views I had about art. It seemed that there was a reality there which had not had any expression in art." The industrial environment captivated him more that evening than many smaller sculptures and colorful paintings he had seen and previously admired in art galleries. The large looming unlit shapes combined mystery with power. Smith wanted his three dimensional forms to operate the way the stacks, towers and fumes had that "dark night."