15 May 2018

A giant spiral across Brisbane’s skyline has been reflected on the ground by students in The University of Queensland’s Great Court to mark International Museum Day today.

UQ Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray said the spirals initiative, inspired by Robert Smithson’s classic Spiral Jetty (1970), gave students the chance to be part of a spectacular moment on campus.

“Smithson was a radical land artist in the 1970s and was known for bringing art outside of the confines of gallery walls and into the environment,” Dr Gray said.

Spiral Jetty is his best-known work and is Utah’s official state art work,” he said.

Students and staff accepted the call to action to create a human spiral, while the aerial spiral above the campus attracted widespread attention across social media with the #SpiralUQ hashtag.

Robert Smithson: Time Crystals, which runs until 8 July at UQ Art Museum, draws together key works of sculpture, film, photography, drawing, prints, and texts – most of them never before exhibited in Australia.

Dr Gray said Robert Smithson was recognised as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the exhibition had already had an impact on campus.

“The exhibition features a 32-minute film about Smithson’s Spiral Jetty,” he said.

“It was produced as the 6000 tons of black basalt rock and earth were shaped into the vast spiral that juts out into the red ‘primordial’ waters of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.”

The International Museum Day movement has involved more than 36,000 museums across about 156 countries and highlights the importance of art museums for cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and cooperation and peace. 

This year’s theme is Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics.

Media: Sonia Uranishi, sonia@soniauranishicommunication.com, 0409 387 623.