Indepth Arts News: |
"Gift of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty"
0000-00-00 until 0000-00-00
Dia Center for the Arts
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Robert Smithson's monumental earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970)
has been acquired by Dia Center for the Arts as a gift from the
Estate of the artist. Located on the Great Salt Lake in Utah,
this pivotal landmark in postwar American art constitutes a
major addition to Dia's collection, which also contains related
works from this period. The Estate's generous bequest
recognizes Dia's commitment, since its founding in 1974, to
promote art that extends beyond a traditional exhibition
framework. Director Michael Govan announced that Dia intends to
facilitate easier access to this reknown piece in the future as
well as to centralize the historical documents relating to it
into a scholarly archive.
In 1970 gallerist and art patron Virginia Dwan provided
Smithson with the funds needed to construct Spiral Jetty.
Using black basalt rocks and earth from the site, the artist
created a coil 1500 feet long and 15 feet wide that stretches
out counterclockwise into the translucent red water. In 1972
Smithson explained his fascination with this rugged context: I
like landscapes that suggest prehistory. As an artist it is
interesting to take on the persona of a geological agent and
actually become part of that process rather than overcome it.
Today Spiral Jetty is submerged as it has been for most of
its existence. Realizing, after its completion, that he had
built it at a time when the level of the lake was unnaturally
low, Smithson considered adding further material to ensure that
his artwork would be visible more often. As yet this has not
Born in 1938, in Passaic, New Jersey, Smithson began addressing
issues of landscape in his art in the late 1960s, most notably
in photo-essays and a series of nonsites. By means of maps,
diagrams, photographs, and material samples he effected a
complex dialogue between the actual site and its means of
representation in a museum or gallery context. In 1973, while
surveying the site in Texas for his earthwork Amarillo Ramp,
Smithson died in a plane crash.
The acquisition of Spiral Jetty continues Dia's longstanding
support of major earthworks. In 1979 Dia helped realize Walter
De Maria's Lightning Field, which it now owns, maintains, and
makes available to the public. In the late 1970s it provided
initial funds for James Turrell's Roden Crater near
Flagstaff, Arizona, and currently it assists Michael Heizer's
ongoing City project in Nevada.