The Spiral Jetty Encyclo

Exploring Robert Smithson's Earthwork through Time and Place

Copublished with the Tanner Trust Fund, J. Willard Marriott Library.

Robert Smithson’s earthwork, Spiral Jetty (1970), an icon of the Land Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, is located on the northern shores of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Smithson built a masterpiece from local materials, one that spirals counterclockwise into the lake and appears or is submerged with fluctuations in the lake’s locally red, saline water.

The Spiral Jetty Encyclo draws on Smithson’s writings for encyclopedic entries that bring to light the context of the earthwork and Smithson’s many points of reference in creating it. Visitors and armchair travelers, too, will discover how much significance Smithson placed on regional considerations, his immersion in natural history, his passion for travel, and his ability to use diverse mediums to create a cohesive and lasting work of art. Containing some 220 images, most of them in color, with some historical black and whites, The  Spiral Jetty Encyclo lets readers explore the construction, connections, and significance of Smithson’s 1,500-foot-long curl into Great Salt Lake, created, in Smithson’s words, of “mud, salt crystals, rocks, water.” 

Winner of 15 Bytes Book Award for Art Book.
Finalist for the Utah State Historical Society Best Book Award.

Hikmet Sidney Loe teaches art history at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Her work examines the changeable nature of the earth and addresses our perceptual and cultural constructs of the land. She frequently lectures and publishes on topics related to Utah’s earthworks. 

Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Spiral Jetty’s Innumerable Places
The Spiral Jetty: The Essay Spiral Jetty: The Film
Mono Lake: The Film
The Author 

Praise and Reviews:

“Few authors are better qualified than Loe, who provides a richly faceted image of one of the key artworks of the twentieth century. Whoever takes the book in hand will be motivated to go visit The Spiral Jetty.”
—Philip Ursprung, author of Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art

“An important book that makes key contributions to the literature on earthworks, Robert Smithson, and the Spiral Jetty. Its innovative format brings abundant new research to light in a fluid and flexible way.”
—Jennifer L. Roberts, author of Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History

“Loe is gifted in her ability to succinctly present a broad survey of information that will interest readers at high school to adult aficionado levels.”
—Frank McEntire, art critic and author of Final Light: The Life and Art of V. Douglas Snow

“A useful reference that could well provide hours of free-form exploration of Smithson’s work…. Those readers who immerse themselves in these pages will come to appreciate Spiral Jetty as a multi-faceted work of conceptual art. Moreover, readers will find sparkling nuggets of information regarding the Great Salt Lake itself, the childhood encounters with natural history that informed Smith’s work, the relationship between Spiral Jetty and his oeuvre, his dialogue with the environmental movement, and his efforts to use art to reclaim land disturbed by industrial processes.”
Utah Historical Quarterly