The Leonard Riggio Spiral Jetty Visitor’s Center, Valet parking to the right

Well, not yet. But after years of drought, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty is so visible (and walkable), it’s getting so many visitors, the Dia Center is thinking: upgrades. Making the bone-jarring road more accessible; maybe adding some rocks here and there; getting it up out of the water so those pesky salt crystals don’t form on it anymore. As Michael Govan, the Dia’s director, notes, “The spiral is not as dramatic as when it was first built. The Jetty is being submerged in a sea of salt.”
“What we’re conceiving is an exciting, interactive, immersive Spiral Jetty experience. It’ll be educational, and entertaining. With the lake’s salt level where it is right now, you just float. You can’t actually immerse. We’re talking to some of the governor’s economic development folks about fixing that, though. They’re in Salt Lake. And IMAX. Can you imagine Smithson’s movie in IMAX? Oh, and we gotta fix that fence over there.”
Okay, I made that last paragraph up. Basically, all that’s happening is, they’ve surveyed the site, and they realize the Jetty won’t survive if 2,000 people walk across it every year. One potential benefit of rebuilding Spiral Jetty: Journalists might stop pretending it’s missing.
Related: Dia, the Baedeker for the Contemporary Art Grand Tour [bonus non sequitur: post includes the sole remaining excerpts from Plum Sykes’ outline for Bergdorf Blondes]
Update: check out John Perrault’s commentary at ArtsJournal In 25-words or less: “I knew Smithson. Smithson was kinda a friend of mine. A reconstituted Jetty, sir, is no Robert Smithson.”

Lost in Transition

bigfoot, lochness, and the spiral jetty.  Only two of these are fables.

[via Travelers Diagram] At the Guardian, Jonathan Jones stages a virtual exhibition (we used to call them “articles”) of great lost, stolen, or missing art. Included in the list: the Gardner Museum’s Vermeer, the recently stolen Scottish Leonardo, and Ryoei Saito’s van Gogh Portrait of Dr. Gachet. The latter is probably lost like the Ark of The Covenant is lost: it’s in some crate in some bankrupt Japanese company’s warehouse somewhere.
But Jones ends, inexplicably, with Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty: “Since its construction it has vanished underwater as the level of the lake has risen. Films have been made, stories told about attempts to rediscover it (the British artist Tacita Dean is one of those who have gone looking). Recently, it is fabled, the spiral has started to resurface.”
A FABLE?? Don’t get me started, Jonathan. I don’t know why, but September is the month for Spiral Jetty deniers. Last year, I took Artforum‘s Nico Israel to task for pretending the Jetty was unfindable, even though we’d just visited it.
This year, the lake level is so low, I was told (and I saw the pictures, JJ), you’re able to walk the entire length of the Jetty. WMD’s are a fable, Jonathan. Spiral Jetty is real.