Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

My daily newspaper The Vancouver Sun’s weekend edition has an Arts & Life section (subscription needed for online archives) which I often enjoy reading over lazy weekend breakfasts. The August 14th paper featured a fascinating article “Land art rises as lake shrinks” by Martin Gaylord for the Daily Telegraph. It is about Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake in Utah, built around 1970, and which has been submerged since a few years after. Now the water level is down to where it was and the Jetty “has re-emerged, transformed, glistening and white as snow”.

Almost immediately after reading this article, I went to my computer to check emails and my favourite blogs, plus a few new ones that I had bookmarked to check out at leisure. One of these latter, From the Floor, would you believe, had this post:

On the way to Spiral Jetty. Todd Gibson wrote about his plans to visit the Jetty with some great links, including to the original article in The Telegraph. Today he’s back with some photos and more to come. So go look for yourself and check out those links.

The Spiral Jetty, having been submerged for three decades, has taken on the air of some ancient creation by early humans. Though Smithson supposedly was not interested in the spiral’s symbolism, I could not help feeling some connection to this symbol used universally by early people around the world. I have tried to search for interpretations for the spiral, but those are of course shrouded in time, and can only be conjectured.
(thanks to Todd)

UPDATE – Robert Smithson exhibition:
This major exhibition begins its national tour in Los Angeles on September 12, 2004, at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles and remains on view through December 13, 2004. It will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art (January 14 to April 3, 2005) and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (Summer 2005). The exhibition features over 150 works, including paintings, works on paper, essays, photographs, objects, and films from 1955 to 1973.

(thanks to Caryn at art

UPDATE 2: See more Spiral Jetty photos

August 16, 2004 in Art Exhibitions, Other artists by Marja-Leena