I’ve visited Robert Smithson’s “Spirit Jetty” on 3 separate occcasions. It is an enigmatic spot to visit, located on the northeast shore of the Great Salt Lake south of Promontory Point. The jetty is, according to Glen Warchol writing in the SLTrib (8 Jun 2011), “one of the world’s iconic earthwork masterpieces.” There is a short video of the Spiral Jetty on my youtube account: www.youtube.com/user/rogerdhansen#p/u/3/V_NxrKbeQsA.
Oversight of the land on which the Spiral Jetty is located is currently in dispute. After Smithson completed his masterpiece, he gave it to the New York-based Dia Foundation to manage. The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands currently has the property in foreclosure (or something similar).
This abrupt action seems unusual, said Joro Walker, a Salt Lake-based senior attorney for the Western Resources Advocates. “Typically when someone is occupying sovereign land, they get their leases renewed.”
The Utah Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Tammy Kikuchi said she was surprised at the interest in the Spiral Jetty’s status “because few people in Utah have visited it.” Warchol found this comment ironic given that a photograph of the Spiral Jetty adorns the Division of Forestry, Fire and Lands website.
A few years ago, on a visit to the Springville Art Museum for one of their major shows, I enjoyed a large oil painting of the Spiral Jetty. Dialogue magazine printed an illustrator’s version of a spiral jetty made of candy dollops. And I sure there is a myriad of other artistic interpretations of jetty. Clearly it is a Utah treasure.
The original photograph accompanying the Warchol article (taken in 2004) shows several people visiting the jetty. And everytime I have visited it, there have been others there also. Given its location, this monumental objet d’art is surprisingly well visited. The State of Utah needs to leave management of the Spiral Jetty with the Dia Foundation.
Other outdoor monumental artworks in Utah include: The Tree (along I-80 near Wendover), The Sun Tunnels (north of Wendover), and The Golden Ratio (near Green River).
For more information about The Golden Ratio see: www.rogerdhansen.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/tribute-to-the-golden-ratio