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Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970. Photo: Gianfranco Gorgoni

Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty Is Named Utah’s Official State Artwork

Utah’s House of Representatives and Senate have approved the designation of Robert Smithson’s famous Earthwork, Spiral Jetty, 1970, as the official state work of art.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Senate voted 23–3 on Friday and the House voted 57–12 to pass bills HB211 and SB171, bringing the work a step closer to being honored by the state. Both bills still need to be passed by Governor Gary Herbert.

Representative Becky Edwards, who sponsored the Spiral Jetty bill, said that the work “is internationally recognized as one of the top ten land art features in the entire world . . . I think the time is right for us to designate that and recognize and celebrate this beautiful work of art.”

Located at Rozel Point on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake, Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long, fifteen-foot-wide coil made up of six thousand tons of black basalt rock and earth that was taken from an adjacent shore. The artist chose rocks from the now-defunct volcanoes in the area as a nod to the prehistoric landscape. In 1972, the work was submerged due to rising water levels. In 2002, droughts caused the lake to recede, making the work visible once again.

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