All week on MAN: The future of Spiral Jetty

MAN's series on preserving Spiral Jetty
Part One: The future of Spiral Jetty.
Part Two: What's happening to the Great Salt Lake?
Part Three: Spiral Jetty, the Great Salt Lake and Dia
Part Four:
Dia's 'buffer' approach to preserving Spiral Jetty
Part Five: The next step at GSL: Coalition-building, funding
Postscript: Spiral Jetty: Is federal protection a useful option?

SpiralJettyWeek1.jpgOn January 29, 2008 artist Nancy Holt emailed friends about a threat to her late husband Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty: Pearl Montana, a Canadian oil-and-gas company, had asked the state of Utah for permission to engage in energy exploration and extraction near the Jetty. The greatest and most important earthwork in the world was potentially threatened by a corporation that wanted to make a buck regardless of the possible cost to the health of an ecosystem or to a seminal artwork. Holt urged people to contact the state of Utah as soon as possible, to explain to state officials the cultural import of the Jetty and to urge the state to deny Pearl Montana's application. Holt asked them to act quickly: The end of the public comment period was 36 hours away, on Jan. 31. [Photo]

Holt's email was first published on Jan. 30, here on MAN. By the end of the day, scores of blogs picked up on Holt's plea. (Most of the traditional media didn't pick up the story for a week. The New York Times, for example, didn't publish anything until Feb. 6.) On that afternoon after Holt's email went up on MAN, so many blog readers from around the world flooded the state of Utah with emails and phone calls that the state extended the public comment period on Pearl Montana's application. Mostly as a result of a blogs-driven, international 'Save the Jetty!' outcry that resulted in Utah officials receiving over 3,000 emails, Pearl Montana's application was delayed. On August 7 state officials rejected it. Thanks substantially to blog readers, art won.

GSLRedRozelPoint.jpgFor now. Eight months later it's clear that Pearl Montana's initial application to explore and drill for oil just west of Spiral Jetty won't be industry's last attempt to treat the Jetty's neighborhood as a commercial resource. It's also clear that drilling is just one of many threats to the Great Salt Lake and to the Jetty. Conservationists are confident that Pearl Montana will be back with a revised application soon, that the company is waiting for the initial 'save the Jetty' fervor to die down. [The map at right is an old Google Satellite image of the Great Salt Lake. The Jetty is marked with a red dot.]

The question is: Is Spiral Jetty threatened by future commercial development? And are arts organizations, most of which have little or no experience in dealing with the confluence of interests and entities involved in preserving an artwork in the landscape, using all available and appropriate measures to save the Jetty?

In a way, Smithson himself expected the Jetty and other earthworks to serve as a catalyst for this kind of engagement between industry, government and environmentalists. Smithson wrote this in 1972, as part of a proposal to a mining company for a project in Ohio:

Our new ecological awareness indicates that industrial production can no longer remain blind to the visual landscape. Earth art could become a visual resource that mediates between ecology and industry.... I am developing an art consciousness for today free from nostalgia and rooted in the process of actual production and reclamation... A dialogue between earth art and mining operations could lead to a whole new consciousness.
Smithson was prescient. That "consciousness" is the debate which began when Pearl Montana filed its first application and when the art world responded. 

This week on MAN I'll detail the latest threats to the Jetty and its view-shed, as well as threats to the Great Salt Lake that could have -- or are already having -- a substantial impact on the Jetty. Here's the lineup:
  • Tomorrow I'll discuss the health of the lake and industry's latest attempts to claim more of it;
  • On Wednesday I'll write about Utah's first, tentative steps to decide what kind of resource the Great Salt Lake should be, and what the stakeholders are doing about the GSL and the Jetty;
  • On Thursday I'll discuss whether the Jetty should be protected by the state or the federal government; and
  • On Friday I'll analyze at whether existing organizations with stewardship of the Jetty and an interest in the lake are doing enough.

September 22, 2008 12:00 PM |

Blogroll

The Lead List

AFC
Greg Allen
Art History Newsletter
Art to Go
art:21
Articulations
Marshall Astor
Bloggy
Brief Epigrams
C-Monster
Conscientious
Greg Cook
Eco Art Blog
Emvergeoning
Exhibitionist
The Expanded Field
Eyeteeth
Fallon & Rosof
The Flog
Grammar.police
Hankblog
Heart as Arena
Indy Museum of Art
Matthew Langley
Looking Around
Modern Art Obsession
Off Center
PORT
Restless
Two Coats of Paint
James Wagner
Edward Winkleman

Boston & New England

Artblog Comments
Leslie K. Brown
Hol Art Books
Jason Landry
Megan & Murray
Modern Kicks
Our Daily Red

Chicago

Art or Idiocy?
B'wood and Holmes
LeisureArts
Edward Lifson
Not If But When #2
Sharkforum

Denver

Art Palaver Fort Collins
Gallery Hopper
Rachel Hawthorn
Minutiae

Great Lakes

Art in Pittsburgh
Cigarettes and Purity
Culture Scout
Digging Pitt
Eric Gelber
Mattress Factory
The Thinking Eye
Unedit my Heart
View on Canadian Art

Los Angeles

art.blogging.la
Carol Es
Frenchy But Chic
Dennis Hollingsworth
I call it oranges
Leap Into the Void
Lightning History
Robert Olsen
Positive Ape Index
SMMoA Book Club
The OC Art Blog

Midwest (KS --> OH)

2buildings1blog
MW Capacity
Nelson-Atkins
On the Cusp
Shorttage

Minneapolis

Chron. of Artistic Failure
Mplsart.com
Ongoing

New York City

Aperture Exposures
ArtCalZine
ArtCritical
ArtObserved
Art on my Mind
Art Vent
Artists Unite Issue
The Brooklyn Days
Bureaux
Daily Gusto
Delicious Ghost
Eponanonymous
Deborah Fisher
Amy Goodwin
Ground Glass
Bill Gusky
John Haber
Ethan Ham
High Low and in Between
Hungry Hyaena
I Heart Photograph
MTAA-RR
Joanne Mattera
NEWSgrist
The Old Gold
Oly's Musings
Page 291
Catherine Spaeth
Hrag Vartanian

Philadelphia

Art Blog By Bob
From This Moment
In It for Life
Matthews the Younger
Romanblog II
Zoe Strauss
Douglas Witmer

Portland

DK Row
Pencilmarks
TJ Norris

San Francisco

Timothy Buckwalter
Chez Namastenancy
Engineer's Daughter
Open Space (SFMOMA)

Seattle

Art and Politics Now
Dangerous Chunky
Seattle Art Blog
Slog visual arts

Texas

Art Motel Radio
ArtsHouston Blog
B.S. Houston
Border Art Dialogue
'Bout What I Sees
Amon Carter Museum
Ezimmerman
Glasstire blogs
Chris Jagers
KERA Arts & Culture
MAMFW

Washington, DC

Adventures of Hoogrrl
artPark
Eyelevel (SAAM)
Hatchets and Skewers
Jumping in Art Museums

Podcasts

ArtsHouston
Bad at Sports
Dallas ArtCast

Architecture

BLDGBLOG
A Daily Dose
Dezeen
Life Without Buildings
Pruned
Subtopia

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Modern Art Notes published on September 22, 2008 12:00 PM.

Weekend roundup, silly Smithsonian edition was the previous entry in this blog.

What's happening to the Great Salt Lake? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

Introducing
AJ Arts Blog Ads

Now you can reach the most discerning arts blog readers on the internet. Target individual blogs or topics in the ArtsJournal ad network.

Advertise Here

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

culture
About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
CultureGulf
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
Flyover
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

dance
Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

jazz
Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
ListenGood
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Rifftides
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

media
Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Overflow
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
PostClassic
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Sandow
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

publishing
book/daddy
Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

theatre
Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Stage Write
Elizabeth Zimmer on time-based art forms

visual
Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Artopia
John Perreault's art diary
CultureGrrl
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.