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Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty
     

Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty

by Lynne Cooke, Karen Kelly (Editor), Ann Reynolds (Contribution by), George Baker (Contribution by), Lytle Shaw (Contribution by)
 

In 1970 Robert Smithson (1938-1973), one of the most innovative and provocative artists of the twentieth century, created the landmark earthwork Spiral Jetty at Rozel Point on Utah's Great Salt Lake. This dramatic and highly influential work forms a coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide and stretches out counterclockwise into the lake's translucent red water.

Overview

In 1970 Robert Smithson (1938-1973), one of the most innovative and provocative artists of the twentieth century, created the landmark earthwork Spiral Jetty at Rozel Point on Utah's Great Salt Lake. This dramatic and highly influential work forms a coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide and stretches out counterclockwise into the lake's translucent red water. Composed of black basalt rocks and earth, the sculpture comprises the materials of its location: mud, salt crystals, rocks, water.

The contributors to this comprehensive publication consider the sculpture in relation to its eponymous companions—a text work and a film. These essays situate this renowned series of works alongside Smithson's critical writings, proposals, drawings, sources, and models. Amply illustrated with archival and new photographs of the Jetty and many comparative illustrations, this book makes evident why Smithson's art and writings have had such a powerful impact on art and art theory for over thirty years.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Robert Smithson's monumental Spiral Jetty (1970) is a 1,500-foot-long coil of earth and basalt that extends into the water from the northern shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake. As if that massive construction were not enough, Smithson's project also includes a poemlike essay and an avant-garde short film. In other words, like many iconic works associated with the Minimalist art movement, its simplicity is deceptive; there's a lot of theory under all those rocks. Cooke and Kelly's beautiful and exhaustively compiled book does an admirable job of tackling Smithson's multifaceted undertaking from as many angles as possible, with essays ranging from video artist Diana Thater's illuminating notes on the film to contractor Bob Phillips's memories of the jetty's construction. However, proving the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words (or, in the case of Cooke's almost comically obscure essay, several thousand), Spiral Jetty truly comes to life through the book's stunning array of photographs, taken by Gianfranco Gorgoni, Tom Smart and others. Owing to the lake's high salinity, abundance of colorful algae and fluctuating water levels, the jetty looks completely different from year to year, and this shifting appearance lends the work and this volume its most forceful aesthetic punch. 200 illus., 85 in color. (Sept. 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520245549
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
09/05/2005
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Cooke has been Curator at Dia Art Foundation since 1991. An art historian and critic, she has published extensively on contemporary art and taught in various institutions. Karen Kelly is Director of Publications at Dia Art Foundation, where she has edited numerous books on contemporary art.

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