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Land art, via Google Earth

May 30, 2012|By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
  • Robert Smithson's 1970 land art "The Spiral Jetty" juts out into a remote section of the Great Salt Lake.
Robert Smithson's 1970 land art "The Spiral Jetty" juts… (Lisa Lyons )

Utah's Great Salt Lake covers some 1,700 square miles, making it one of the largest such bodies of salt water around. Have you ever wondered exactly where, relative to other parts of that vast and peculiar lake, artist Robert Smithson built his landmark environmental sculpture "The Spiral Jetty" in 1970?

With just a few clicks of your mouse, Google Earth would be happy to show you, thanks to a newly launched project in conjunction with a sprawling exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Little Tokyo warehouse space. "Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974" opened Sunday, and I'll have a review later this week.

Forty of the show's 250 works are mapped by Google Earth on MOCA's website. The territory covered spans much of the globe: Not just land art in North America but sites in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Australia, etc.

Think of it as a two-fer -- a swell tool for serious research on some remarkable works of art and a great time-waster when you need a break from deep concentration at the keyboard. Best of all, take these far-flung electronic trips without TSA hassles at the airport.

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