Category Archives: work of art

Preserving the Art of Earth: Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”

Preserving the Art of Earth - Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”Earth was the artist’s first canvas. Before paint supplies and art tools, individuals used natural settings as means to document history and express cultural identity.

After tools to create paintings, sculptures, and sketches came into use, some artists – like the late Robert Smithson – still chose to create massive artistic marvels using natural elements. Earthwork, as it is commonly known, consists of large scale artwork that is set in nature and composed of the elements.

The Spiral Jetty, located at Rozel Point in Great Salt Lake, Utah is the defining earthwork of Smithson. In 1970, he used “mud, precipitated salt crystals, and rocks” to create a 1,500 foot long, 15 foot wide water coil.

Any challenges the artist was confronted with when creating the Spiral Jetty may be comparable to the work that is going into conserving the art. As nature continues to recreate this work of art, the importance of documenting this earthwork is ever more important.

How Is The Spiral Jetty Being Preserved?

Both nature and man have made quite the impact on the Spiral Jetty. In recent years, because of drought, the earthwork has emerged from its safe home underwater. Smithson was said to have been, “fascinated by the concept of entropy…” and may have even “…welcomed this transformation.” However, less appealing are the man made changes that occur when visitors, who have access to the site, walk away with rock souvenirs.

Today, the Dia Center for the Arts, which acquired the Spiral Jetty from the Robert Smithson Estate in 1999, is partnering up with the Getty Conservation Institute to document the earthwork regularly. Only time will tell if there will need to be conservation efforts to keep the Spiral Jetty constructed in the way Smithson intended it.

The preservation efforts are inexpensive and consist of a disposable latex weather balloon, which monitors the vast creation from above. The images, captured with a Canon point and shoot camera, help conservationists see how the work of art is changing over the years. These photographs will be useful in continuing to weigh options as to how they may best preserve, and possibly restore the piece.

Why Is It Important To Preserve Earthwork?

As nature and people threaten the structure, there may come a day when portions of Smithson’s Spiral Jetty needs to be rebuilt. Though many of the existing earthworks were created to withstand the elements, they may need to be touched up and monitored to ensure they last for years to come.

For the sake of preservation, it is important to be mindful of how both art and nature impacts the world around us. One reason why earthwork captivates us is because these pieces are subject to the elements. This means they are always changing and reshaping, to create a unique type of art. When merging man’s abilities with the natural world, it is important to maintain man’s hard work and nature’s creativity.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/arts/design/18spiral.html?_r=1&

http://www.robertsmithson.com/earthworks/spiral_jetty.htm

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/videos/focus/spiral_jetty.html

Read more Segmation blog posts about art beyond the canvas:

Travel Like an Artist

The Body as a Canvas

The Natural Side of Art

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First Female Tattoo Artist Starts a Cultural Phenomenon

beautiful, maud wagoner, people, tattoo artist, tattoos, works art

There is something magical about art. Music, poetry, dance, and drama all hold an enchantment so real that people will do just about anything to make contact with the particular art form that makes their life worth the living. Art is so captivating that many people desire to wear it, or even to become it. This is made evident by the millions of dollars that are spent each year on designer clothing and one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Those who just can’t seem to get close enough to art often become a living, breathing work of art. How? By getting tattooed.

Some would agree that tattoos are not only works of art, but means by which individuals become art. This is fascinating when you think of it. For relatively small amounts of money, someone can enter a tattoo parlor having 100 percent natural-toned flesh and exit having had a section of their body shaded with vibrant colors. What beautiful things tattoos are.

Tattoos used to be considered primarily masculine. However, the times have changed drastically. More women were tattooed in 2012 than men (in the United States). Also, tattoos are evolving into more feminine, beautiful works of art. In some ways, tattoos are becoming a female affair. This is due in part to a woman named Maud Wagoner — the first American female tattoo artist.

Maud Wagoner was a woman like no other. While most ladies of the Victorian era were studying homemaking and vying for a husband and children, Maud was doing all she could to become a skilled tattooist. She went so far as to “trade a date with her husband-to-be for tattoo lessons.” Her talent for tattooing was passed down to her daughter, Lotteva Wagoner, who was also a tattoo artist.

Thanks to artistic forerunners like Maud Wagoner, body art on women is becoming more the rule than the exeption. For art lovers, this should be good news. After all, when done by excellent artists, tattoos turn people into walking works of art, and that is a beautiful thing.

Sources:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/photobooth/2013/01/slide-show-a-secret-history-of-women-and-tattoo.html#slide_ss_0=3  

Coming soon: Read our next blog post to learn what an artistic impression a colorful front door can make on guests and neighbors.

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https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/green-represents-saint-patricks-day/

— Early Cave Art in Spain

https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/early-cave-art-in-spain/

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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