PRINT April 2008


the future of Spiral Jetty

Two dilapidated shacks looked over a tired group of oil rigs. A series of seeps of heavy black oil more like asphalt occur just south of Rozel Point. For forty or more years people have tried to get oil out of this natural tar pool. Pumps coated with black stickiness rusted in the corrosive salt air. A hut mounted on pilings could have been the habitation of “the missing link.” A great pleasure arose from seeing all those incoherent structures. This site gave evidence of a succession of man-made systems mired in abandoned hopes.

About one mile north of the oil seeps I selected my site. —Robert Smithson, “The Spiral Jetty,” 1972

Northeastern shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake with remnants of past oil exploration, Rozel Point, 2003. Photo: Serge Paul.

ON JANUARY 29, 2008, an e-mail began making the rounds of the art world. Originally sent by artist Nancy Holt to a small group of friends and colleagues, and rapidly forwarded on, the message contained an urgent appeal: Holt had been alerted, just the

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