New State Work of Art: The Spiral Jetty

The Spiral Jetty, a 15-foot-wide coil that stretches more than 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake, was designated as an official Utah state work of land art during the 2017 General Session.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts refers to the Spiral Jetty as “Undoubtedly the most famous large-scale earthwork of the period, it has come to epitomize Land art. Its exceptional art historical importance and its unique beauty have drawn visitors and media attention from throughout Utah and around the world.”

“It truly is a bucket list item for art lovers around the world,” said Rep. Rebecca Edwards, sponsor of H.B. 211 State Work of Art.

In 1970, the Spiral Jetty was created on the desolate Rozel Point shoreline in the Great Salt Lake by Robert Smithson. The Dia Art Foundation leases the lake bed where the Spiral Jetty is located from the State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Dia collaborates with two organizations, the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College (GSLI) and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah (UMFA), to help preserve the artwork.

While studying for the 2015 AP Art History exam, an American Fork High School class was delightfully surprised to find that one of the 250 works of art was in Utah: The Spiral Jetty.

The AP Art History curriculum features the Spiral Jetty as one of the Top 250 art pieces. The curriculum is designed to focus on the layers of meaning of artworks from around the globe. The emphasis, to study art pieces from political, visual, cultural, historical, societal and economic angles with a focus on the broader cultural context of a smaller number of works of art intended to reflect world history. Some of the other art pieces include the Stonehenge, the Parthenon, Great Pyramids of Giza, Sistine Chapel, Machu Picchu, Westminster Palace, Versailles, Petra, Mesa Verde, Angkor Wat as well as works by Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Cezanne, Picasso, Rembrandt and Rodin. See the full list here.

“I think the Spiral Jetty is an excellent example of work that connects cross-culturally and why it was included in the AP Art curriculum,” said, Rep. Edwards, District 20. “It symbolizes how Utahns collaborate and work together to find the best solutions for our communities.”

H.B. 211 State Work of Art passed the Utah Legislature and was signed by the Governor.

Check out some of the stories about the Spiral Jetty being named a state work of art:

New York Times: ‘Spiral Jetty’ Is Named an Official State Work of Art by Utah

Smithsonian Magazine: Utah Chooses New State Works of Art

Apollo-Magazine: Robert Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’ named official Utah state artwork

Salt Lake Tribune: Spiral Jetty and ancient rock art honored by lawmakers

Artnet News: Iconic ‘Spiral Jetty’ Voted Utah’s Official State Work of Land Art

KSL: Utah’s Spiral Jetty to become state work of art

The Davis Clipper: Legislators will be working into the night to wrap things up on Capitol Hill