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    ‘Spiral Jetty’ May Become Utah’s Official State Work of Art

    Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970. MICHAEL DAVID MURPHY/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

    Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970.

    MICHAEL DAVID MURPHY/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

    The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty may become Utah’s official state work of art. Becky Edwards, a Republican representative for Utah, has been spearheading the effort. After a 7-1 vote (one representative voted down the plan because he saw it as a cheap way of promoting the work), the bill is moving forward.

    Made in 1970, Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot series of rocks that Smithson arranged in a curving shape that stretches out from the shore of Great Salt Lake. It can only be seen completely when the water in the lake is low, as it has been in recent years.

    Since its making, Spiral Jetty has eroded due to natural conditions, although manmade sources of ecological destruction also threaten the sculpture. In 2008, artists protested proposed oil drilling near Spiral Jetty that could have permanently damaged the earthwork.

    Few U.S. states have an official state work of art, but Spiral Jetty, being such an iconic piece of the landscape, hardly seems out of place when Utah also has a state fossil, a state cooking pot, and a state gun.

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