Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970

This piece by Smithson is the classic example of an earthwork, or a piece of art that rejects the traditional notions of a studio space and is instead created in the natural environment. More specifically, Spiral Jetty is an example of Smithson’s interest with entropic earthworks, or the tendency of forms in nature to simplify and decay over time. Smithson specifically chose the Great Salt Lake in Utah for the site because it already expressed the increasing decay and disorganization that characterizes entropy through the residue of salt left behind after evaporation. As a site-specific installation, this piece is only able to be known by actually traveling to the piece; however, it is one of Smithson’s most well-documented works and the photographs of its creation function as a surrogate of the piece itself.

 

Posted on October 30 2012, with 552 Notes

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