Spiral Jetty

Robert Smithson
Great Salt Lake, Utah
Mud, precipitated salt crystals, rocks, water
1,500 ft (457.2 m) long and 15 ft. (4.6 m) wide
Dia Art Foundation

Built at the mouth of a terminal basin rich in minerals and nearly devoid of life, ​Spiral Jetty ​is a testament to Smithson’s fascination with entropy. Its precarious location lends itself to the structure’s inevitable disintegration, yet its impressive size and deliberate shape command the surrounding landscape. Constructed from 6,650 tons of rock and earth, the spiral continuously changes form as nature, industry, and time take effect.


Scholarly Text

Spiral Jetty

Gary Shapiro

Robert Smithson designed and directed the construction of his iconic work the Spiral Jetty in April 1970. The Jetty is a site-specific work, meant to interact with changing conditions of the surrounding water, land, and atmosphere. While located in a relatively barren, unpopulated place, Smithson chose the site not only because of the vast surrounding landscape, but with reference to nearby abandoned oil rigs and the Golden Spike monument marking the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railway. He understood these as industrial ruins, or entropic residues.

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