Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty May Be in Danger

January 30, 2008 · Print This Article

Robert Smithson’s widow Nancy Holt sent a letter out today to notify people that his masterwork Spiral Jetty is in jeopardy of being destroyed due to oil drilling.

Here is Holt’s full letter and a way for people to voice their concerns.

Yesterday I received an urgent email from Lynn DeFreitas, Director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake, telling me of plans for drilling oil in the Salt Lake near Spiral Jetty. See Attachments. The deadline for protest is [today] Wednesday, at 5PM. Of course, DIA has been informed and are meeting about it today.

I have been told by Lynn that the oil wells will not be above the water, but that means some kind of industrial complex of pipes and pumps beneath the water and on the shore. The operation would require roads for oil tank trucks, cranes, pumps etc. which produce noise and will severely alter the wild, natural place.

If you want to send a letter of protest to save the beautiful, natural Utah environment around the Spiral Jetty from oil drilling, the emails or calls of protest go to Jonathan Jemming 801-537-9023 jjemming@utah.gov. Please refer to Application # 8853. Every letter makes a big difference, they do take a lot of notice and know that publicity may follow. Since the Spiral Jetty has global significance, emails from foreign countries would be of special value.

They try to slip these drilling contracts under the radar, that’s why we found out so late, not through notification, but from a watchdog lawyer at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the group that alerted me to the land leasing for oil and gas near Sun Tunnels last May.

Thank you for your consideration of this serious environmental matter.

4 Responses to “Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty May Be in Danger”

  1. […] 30, 2008 in Art / Artists by betsey Read all about it on Modern Art Notes, and Bad at Sports, Bayou Dawn, and Grammar […]

  2. Looking at the drilling application, there seems to be quite a separation between the drilling and staging area and the Spiral Jetty.
    http://imoralist.blogspot.com/2008/01/sign-from-dia.html
    When I visited the site, I felt that Smithson was inspired by the decay of the oil drilling jetty within view. Certainly the entropy of the wood jetty is metaphorically recreated by the spiral, Smithson’s symbol for entropy.

  3. […] From Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson’s widow, via 1,2,3,4: […]

  4. […] Read all about it at Modern Art Notes:, Hankblog, and Bad at Sports. […]

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