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for people who care about the West

The cyclone in the Great Salt Lake

An encyclopedia encapsulates a lasting earthwork of the 70s Land Movement.


A coil of earth and rock 1,500 feet long juts out from the northeastern shore of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, its stones visible only when the lake is low enough to expose them. Spiral Jetty, created in 1970 by Robert Smithson, is an iconic example of the Land Art movement, which rejected traditional art materials, venues and commodification. In The Spiral Jetty Encyclo, hundreds of vignettes, photographs and sketches, some by Smithson himself, provide context for the artwork and detail the people, places and natural forces that inspired it.

The collection includes an entry on Nancy Holt, Smithson’s spouse and another influential Land Art sculptor, as well as photographs of the rocky landscape around Rozel Point, the remote, carefully selected site of Spiral Jetty. As author Hikmet Sidney Loe writes in the introduction, “Although the Spiral Jetty occupies a very singular place, innumerable places from Smithson’s past, and ours, intersect there.”

The Spiral Jetty, made from basalt rocks and earth found onsite on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Robert Smithson, Collection MuseÉ National d’Art Moderne