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Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, 1970
Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, 1970

DIA NEGOTIATES SPIRAL JETTY LEASE

Aug. 10, 2011

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As expected, the Dia Art Foundation has announced that an agreement is in the works with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands over the lease for the 10 acres of state-owned land that’s home to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970, in the Great Salt Lake. According to a statement, Dia is currently drafting a new special-use lease with the division, quelling rumors that began earlier in the summer that Dia, which owns the work, had failed to make payments and to renew its 20-year lease, which expired in February.

According to the statement, “Dia would like to confirm that it is negotiating a replacement lease with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands through a non-competitive process. The Division and Dia agree on the extraordinary importance of Spiral Jetty as both an internationally acclaimed artwork and an iconic Utah destination. The original lease could not have contemplated Spiral Jetty’s contemporary significance, nor the fact that visitors travel from around the world to see this remote and isolated work of art.”

A spokesperson for Dia told Artnet News that “There were no problems with the original lease, it was simply written to facilitate an art project. This art project has since become an icon.”

Dia has said in the past that it has always paid its invoices and that the confusion came when the death of a Utah lands coordinator in 2010 led to a pile-up of paperwork. While the state was determining whether or not to renew Dia’s lease, art collector and blogger Greg Allen founded The Jetty Foundation to throw in his bid for the land. According to Allen’s blog, he applied for the lease when he realized that Dia might not retain control of the property, and that other parties were interested. He presented the “apparently undecided State officials with the most constructive, credible set of choices: the status quo, or an independent, locally based institution whose purpose is to manage the site and collaborate with the artwork's owners as they fulfill their own missions.”

Allen’s said that it wasn’t his intention to compete with Dia -- and now it looks like he won’t have to.

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