Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip through the Land Art of the American West

University of Chicago Press
3
Free sample

Erin Hogan hit the road in her Volkswagen Jetta and headed west from Chicago in search of the monuments of American land art: a salty coil of rocks, four hundred stainless steel poles, a gash in a mesa, four concrete tubes, and military sheds filled with cubes. Her journey took her through the states of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. It also took her through the states of anxiety, drunkenness, disorientation, and heat exhaustion. Spiral Jetta is a chronicle of this journey.

A lapsed art historian and devoted urbanite, Hogan initially sought firsthand experience of the monumental earthworks of the 1970s and the 1980s—Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, James Turrell’s Roden Crater, Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, and the contemporary art mecca of Marfa, Texas. Armed with spotty directions, no compass, and less-than-desert-appropriate clothing, she found most of what she was looking for and then some.

“I was never quite sure what Hogan was looking for when she set out . . . or indeed whether she found it. But I loved the ride. In Spiral Jetta, an unashamedly honest, slyly uproarious, ever-probing book, art doesn’t magically have the power to change lives, but it can, perhaps no less powerfully, change ways of seeing.”—Tom Vanderbilt, New York Times Book Review

“The reader emerges enlightened and even delighted. . . . Casually scrutinizing the artistic works . . . while gamely playing up her fish-out-of-water status, Hogan delivers an ingeniously engaging travelogue-cum-art history.”—Atlantic

“Smart and unexpectedly hilarious.”—Kevin Nance, Chicago Sun-Times

“One of the funniest and most entertaining road trips to be published in quite some time.”—June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune

“Hogan ruminates on how the work affects our sense of time, space, size, and scale. She is at her best when she reexamines the precepts of modernism in the changing light of New Mexico, and shows how the human body is meant to be a participant in these grand constructions.”—New Yorker

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About the author

Erin Hogan is director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Reviews

3.3
3 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 15, 2008
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Pages
190
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ISBN
9780226348483
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Sculpture & Installation
Travel / General
Travel / United States / West / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Timothy Egan
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Winner of the Mountains and Plains Book Seller's Association Award

"Sprawling in scope. . . . Mr. Egan uses the past powerfully to explain and give dimension to the present." --The New York Times

"Fine reportage . . . honed and polished until it reads more like literature than journalism." --Los Angeles Times

"They have tried to tame it, shave it, fence it, cut it, dam it, drain it, nuke it, poison it, pave it, and subdivide it," writes Timothy Egan of the West; still, "this region's hold on the American character has never seemed stronger." In this colorful and revealing journey through the eleven states west of the 100th meridian, Egan, a third-generation westerner, evokes a lovely and troubled country where land is religion and the holy war between preservers and possessors never ends.

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"The writing is simply wonderful. From the opening paragraph, Egan seduces the reader. . . . Entertaining, thought provoking."
--The Arizona Daily Star Weekly

"A western breeziness and love of open spaces shines through Lasso the Wind. . . . The writing is simple and evocative."
--The Economist


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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