Holy smokes, this is like something out of Land Art Kafka. Tyler Green points to a just-published report by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Glen Warchol: the Utah Department of Natural Resources is claiming the Dia Foundation’s 20-year lease on the 10 acres of state land under the Spiral Jetty is not being renewed. Dia was “tardy” in making its $250 lease payment, and that the Foundation had not responded to an automatically generated notice of the end of the lease sent in February.
Dia’s deputy director had no idea about the situation when the Tribune reporter called for comment. Yet the report also includes multiple sources from the state, and other local experts familiar with state land leases.
The story is just flabbergasting, the dismissive quotes in particular. Oh, and the land use attorney who finds the non-renewal “unusual” and who notes that it’d be “unheard-of” for the state to fail to renew a mineral extraction company’s lease.
Robert Smithson leased 10 acres of sovereign land at Rozel Point to build the Spiral Jetty in 1970. The original payment was $100/year. The artist’s estate gave the Jetty to Dia in 1999, which implies that the estate had renewed it at $250/year around 1990.
Reading the report again, this paragraph jumps out at me:
The Spiral Jetty would continue to be protected as state land and the public access would remain the same, [Forestry and State Lands spokesman] Curry said. “Dia’s not holding the lease is not going to change anything regarding the Spiral Jetty.”
On the one hand, it could sound like an attempt or decision by the state to take control of the Jetty itself. On the other, neither Warchol nor the state spokesman seems too steeped in the nuances of ownership and authorization of an artwork. [Which obviously happens to be site-specific, but still.]
It’s an early report of a fragment of a complicated situation with [literally] monumental consequences.
Control of iconic sculpture Spiral Jetty in dispute [sltrib via @tylergreendc]