Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) Presents Robert Smithson and the Spiral Jetty the Center and the Circumference

Public Lecture by Author and Art Historian Hikmet Sidney Loe

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is pleased to host writer, artist, and teacher Hikmet Sidney Loe for a public lecture entitled “Robert Smithson and the Spiral Jetty: the Center and the Circumference.” The program, which is presented in conjunction with the UMFA’s current exhibition The Smithson Effect, will be free and open to the public.

Wednesday, May 11 at 7 pm

University of Utah
Marcia and John Price Museum Building
Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium
410 Campus Center Drive
SLC, UT 84112

Loe’s lecture, “Robert Smithson and the Spiral Jetty: the Center and the Circumference,” will investigate the multiplicity of ways to view and experience Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and provide a broader discussion of his influence on the world of art. Smithson stated of his iconic earthwork, “there were three different ways of seeing the jetty–walking on it, from a hill on the shoreline, and from a helicopter.” Loe will explore this idea and present material from her forthcoming book The Spiral Jetty and Rozel Point: Rotating Through Time and Place.

Born and raised on the east coast, Hikmet Sidney Loe first arrived in Salt Lake City in 1977, and has been enthralled with the environs of the Great Salt Lake since her initial explorations to find Spiral Jetty in 1995. She has since been an active member of Friends of the Great Salt Lake and the recently formed Great Salt Lake Institute of Westminster College. In 2010 Loe curated an exhibition for the Great Salt Lake Institute entitled Mirror Images: Great Salt Lake, which brought together national contemporary artists who use the lake as a source of artistic inspiration. Loe is an independent interpreter for the Center of Land Use Interpretation, often touring the lake with individuals and groups. She has served as a professor of art history at Westminster College since 2006 and has also taught courses at the University of Utah and Weber State University. Her extensive exploration of Spiral Jetty will be published next year by the Utah State University Press in a book titled The Spiral Jetty and Rozel Point: Rotating Through Time and Place. For more information on Hikmet Loe, please visit www.hikmetsidneyloe.com.

Perhaps the most influential artist of the postwar period, Robert Smithson is best known for his pioneering earthworks created during the 1960s and 70s, such as the famous Spiral Jetty (1970) in Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Spiral Jetty takes the form of a 1,500-foot-long and approximately 15-foot-wide coil of basalt rocks that extends into the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point. For many years audiences experienced Spiral Jetty primarily through photographs and Smithson’s film, Spiral Jetty (1970), as the earthwork was covered by the rising waters of the lake shortly after its creation. Since the early 2000s, however, the Spiral Jetty has been mostly visible, based on time of year and regional precipitation. The ever-changing conditions of the lake and its surrounding landscape are part of what interested Smithson in the site for what would become his most famous work and a landmark of twentieth century art.

The UMFA created an online educational resource about Spiral Jetty to provide community members with information about the earthwork. The resource features interviews with local experts (including Hikmet Sidney Loe), directions to the site, and much more. To access this resource, please visit www.umfa.utah.edu/spiraljetty.

While Smithson is best known for his iconic earthworks, his legacy extends far beyond his revolutionary use of land as an artistic medium. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, significant numbers of artists have turned to Smithson’s work as a source of inspiration, exploring his radical ideas on the subjects of entropy, site and ‘nonsite’, land use, anti-monuments, natural history, and language. Smithson’s pervasive influence is examined in The Smithson Effect, the UMFA’s most ambitious contemporary art exhibition to date. Organized by Acting Chief Curator Jill Dawsey, the exhibition brings together a broad spectrum of work by twenty-three international artists and features sculpture, video, photography, installation, and sound art. The Smithson Effect will be on view in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah through July 3, 2011.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on the University of Utah campus in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA’s mission is to engage visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world’s cultures. General admission is $7 adults, $5 youth and seniors, FREE for U of U students/staff/faculty, UMFA members, higher education students in Utah, and children under six years old. Free admission offered the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month thanks to the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Fund. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Weekends, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit www.umfa.utah.edu

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