15 Bytes Extras

Free Ice Cream and the Art Pilgrimage


Utah is well known for its pilgrimage art, artworks whose context give the viewer what Michael Kimmelman has described as “the virtue of the pilgirmage.” These works are either remote or affected by temporal conditions (or both) meaning that only the lucky few, those willing to put in the effort or those with the right map, will experience the works. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels are the most famous examples within the state. Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, just across the border in Nevada, is another piece that the cognoscenti are willing to make the trek to.

The world premier of Duane McDiarmid’s Trickster this week adds another pilgrimage piece to the state, if only for a few days. McDiarmid’s arabian-nights-styled lunar-lander sculpture was “unveiled” earlier this week on Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake. McDiarmid’s is not land art, but it does require a sort of pilgrimage. It is a high-tech, interactive piece, meant to be placed in remote desert locations and provide errant travelers with that all important staple of a decent diet — ice cream. The ice cream is free and kept cool by solar power (see our piece “A Good Idea Is Not Enough” in our May edition).

Rather than pilgrimage art, McDiarmid’s piece might be more appropriately called serendipitous art. He doesn’t advertise its location. His purpose is to put the piece in places close enough to trails so that people will happen upon it. But because we here at 15 Bytes are always in the know, we’re happy to give you a heads up.  The piece is located on the ranch road on the east shore of Antelope Island, about 8 or 9 miles from the park entrance.  It will be there until late afternoon on Saturday (the 24th). If you’re afraid you might not be able to find it, but want to be sure to get your free ice cream, you can volunteer to help dismantle the piece and pack it out. Contact Kathryn Stedham (kstedham@spiroarts.org) at Spiro Arts for details.

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