Revisiting Smithson’s earthworks “Spiral Jetty” and “Partially Buried Woodshed,” which have dramatically changed 50 years later.
Spencer Finch, “Great Salt Lake and Vicinity” (2017), commissioned by the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (all photos courtesy UMFA) In describing the surrounding landscape of Spiral Jetty in a 1972 essay, Robert Smithson gives us ample descriptions of color, from the “deposits of black basalt” to “shallow pinkish water” to his sublime view of “a […]
If Governor Gary Herbert signs the two bills passed by the state legislature, Utah would become the first state to establish official works of art.
The lake that hosts Robert Smithson’s landmark earthwork is desiccating at an alarming rate.
In his new documentary, Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, filmmaker and art historian James Crump digs beneath the surface to explore the personal lives, artworks, and historical treatment of three land artists: Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, and Robert Smithson.
ROZEL POINT, Utah — Beginning with childhood visits to the American Museum of Natural History and continuing with excursions to study rock formations throughout his adult life, Robert Smithson cultivated a lifelong obsession with natural (and human) history that explicitly informed his artwork, including the Spiral Jetty, his most well-known piece.
Michael Heizer’s “Double Negative” (1969), located two hours northeast of Las Vegas, is a quintessential piece of the Land Art canon. Yet if you don’t have a clear image of what you’re looking for, you may not find it — this is no “Spiral Jetty.”
When we last left you in this saga, the Utah Department of Natural Resources had accused Dia Art Foundation of not renewing their lease on Robert Smithson’s iconic work of land art “Spiral Jetty.” As it stood then, the state appeared to be taking a backseat approach to the problem, not immediately putting the land (art) up for auction. But now it seems things have complicated a bit.
Could the Dia Foundation lose its lease to the most iconic work of land art ever? The Utah Department of Natural Resources recently informed Dia that it had failed to renew its lease on the land that holds Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” (1970) in Rozel Point, Utah.
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. 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.