Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” (1970) is arguably the most famous, least directly experienced work in the Land Art cannon. Most know the work from iconic aerial photographs, some by Smithson’s accompanying text and some by his weird and monotonous film. Built in 1970, the 6,650 tons of black basalt paved in a 1,500 foot long counter-clockwise coil was underwater and invisible for nearly 30 years until the early 2000’s. Spiral Jetty was acquired by Dia Art Foundation as a gift from the Estate of the artist in 1999. During the first days of 2011, artist Suzanne Stroebe and I ventured into the frigid landscape of Northern Utah to Rozel Point, the home of Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake. On January 2, Smithson’s birthday (he would have been 73 and coincidentally died in 1973), we visited the site for the afternoon and returned two days later to spend an incredible 23 hours with the jetty and its lunar-like, desolate landscape.
Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” (1970) is located in Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
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