The previously unknown third bidder for the Spiral Jetty-site lease is retired Seattle schoolteacher and arts-funder Herbert Steiner, MAN has learned. Utah DNR spokesperson Jason Curry said that Steiner is one of three bidders whose applications for the site lease have been accepted by the agency.
The two other bidders for the lease, which appears to be available after the Dia Art Foundation’s lease with the DNR expired earlier this year, are Dia and The Jetty Foundation, a new non-profit created by Washington, DC-based art collector and former investment banker Greg Allen. On his blog greg.org, Allen said that he is in Salt Lake City this week, taking meetings related to his pursuit of the Jetty-site lease.
Steiner, 89, is best-known in Utah for spending $145,000 to fund a work of land art in Green River, Utah, a town of about 1,000 people in central-eastern Utah. The artwork, created by Andrew Rogers and titled Ratio, was completed earlier this year. In a story about the piece, the Salt Lake Tribune described Steiner as a blind railroad buff who bought surplus property in the Green River area from Southern Pacific in the 1980s. Steiner sold off parcels of the land to various civic entities before commissioning the sculpture.
In other Jetty-site lease news, Utah Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Jason Curry confirmed that the DNR has accepted three applications for the site lease, but that it’s possible other applications could still come in. He said that the DNR is not sure when the department will select a lessee.
“A timeline hasn’t really been discussed, in part because it’s such an unusual process that we’re going through,” Curry told MAN. “We don’t have a sense of when we’d have a final decision document produced, but I think we’re on the tail end of it and we’re getting close.”
MAN left a phone message for Steiner at his Seattle home. I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.