Tyler Green
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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Five things I think I think on events in Utah

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Yesterday MAN revealed the third of three bidders for the lease for the land on which Spiral Jetty sits. Utah DNR spokesperson Jason Curry told me that while the state would still accept other lease bids, his suggestion that we’re close to the end of the process makes it looks like a three-bid race. Some thoughts:
  • The easy thing for Utah to do would have been to approve a renewal of Dia Art Foundation’s lease for the Spiral Jetty site back on June 9 or June 10. It did not do so, an administrative action that at the timeĀ Dia said it expected. Therefore, other bidders — particularly the brand-new Jetty Foundation — have a good shot at this.
  • By its own admission, Dia has not been engaged with key state-level bodies that are determining the future of the Great Salt LakeĀ since 2008. (In a related story and for whatever reason, it’s increasingly apparent that Utah believes that Dia did not renew its lease on the land on which Spiral Jetty sits.) More specifically, as I reported here, Dia is not presently involved with either of the two Utah bodies that are currently working on GSL issues.
  • Therefore, the only meaningful difference between Dia’s interest and The Jetty Foundation’s interest is that The Jetty Foundation wants to be involved in lake-related policy issues that effect Spiral Jetty and Dia has never embraced that form of stewardship. That has the potential to be a big deal for the sculpture as Utah moves to manage the Great Salt Lake for the first time. If The Jetty Foundation wins the lease, it will be because Utah recognizes how important Spiral Jetty is as an artwork and as a tourism draw and wants a more engaged partner to help ensure its future.
  • The Jetty Foundation has three board members. One is from Utah, the other two live in Washington, DC. If I were DNR, I’d wait a few weeks to see how quickly The Jetty Foundation can broaden its base of support in Utah before making any lease decisions.
  • Yes, I think the lease comes down to Dia v. The Jetty Foundation.
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  1. John Baldwin says:

    That’s all fine and dandy, but all these opportunistic bidders should keep one thing in mind: the Spiral Jetty (the actual sculpture that is) belongs to Dia. It was indeed given to Dia by Robert Smithson. This means that if the DNR, under the influence of god knows (wink, wink) which manipulators, decides to give the lease to someone else, Dia can simply move the Jetty to another location of its choice. And no one will be able to do anything about it.

  2. Tyler Green says:

    The work is site-specific.

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