Wendover Report
From the CLUI Complex in the Great Salt Lake Desert

3743 A class from the University of Montana at CLUI Wendover talking to members of New York’s Smudge Studio about their display in Exhibit Hall Two. CLUI photo2014 WAS ANOTHER BUSY YEAR at the Center’s interpretive compound at Wendover, on the edge of the Salt Flats of northwest Utah. The Wendover Residence Program continued with new residents including Marget Long, a New York-based artist who researched the optical phenomenon of mirages, which occur with unsurpassed voracity on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Also in residence this season was Jason Metcalf, a Los Angeles-based artist born and raised in Salt Lake City, who established a physical archive in one of the CLUI buildings for the Historical Society of Deseret, an ongoing project that explores and documents disputed historical sites in the state.  And David Robertson, a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Davis, produced an experiential tour book of his time based in Wendover.

Occasionally we get groups in residence, and such was the case this year with a class from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, who stayed for a few weeks, responding to the environment, and producing work, some of which was exhibited on site, but most of which will be shown in Portland, Oregon, when they present an exhibition about the Wendover Residence Program there.

Chris Taylor’s Land Arts class from Texas Tech spent a week in Wendover in September, working in the region, as they have done for the past decade or so, and a class from the University of Montana came through as well. At least two international classes stopped in, one from the University of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, and another from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

Besides the general public, which comes through town to see exhibits on their own, visitors in 2014 who got in touch and involved include the filmmaker Sam Douglas, who is working on a film about land art; a French dancer named Rémy Héritier who recorded a performance entitled Percée Persée at a few sites around Wendover; and Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum, a Dutch art duo, working on a commission from the University City Science Center in Philadelphia. Greg Smoak and Jared Farmer from the American West Center at the University of Utah also visited Wendover, and conducted some interviews for their oral history archives.

Several former residents returned to continue projects at Wendover, including William Lamson, who set up a couple of rooms in CLUI buildings to allow time and salt to transform objects. Smudge Studio also returned to install their exhibit Look Only at the Movement, which was on view through 2014. Bryon Darby, a resident from 2013, had his work installed in Exhibit Hall 1 for the season as well.

Speed Week was cancelled twice this year, due to standing rainwater on the flats. Other events were luckier with the weather, like the rocket club meeting, funny cars gatherings, and commercial advertising events, which were able to occur as scheduled.

3744 A group from an unspecified German car company brought some new “secret” cars to test out the flats, as they sometimes do, though in this case they sported an unusual vinyl wrap. The pattern, explained the heavily accented engineers testing the cars, is meant to make digital images harder to render into CAD files, it’s a kind of digital camouflage. CLUI photoTragically, the artist Nancy Holt died after a battle with leukemia in February of 2014. She was a frequent visitor to Wendover and a supporter of the CLUI. Members of the organization helped coordinate a public memorial at her sculpture Sun Tunnels, located on an empty plain in Lucin, north of Wendover.

3746 At a memorial to the artist Nancy Holt held on the Summer Solstice, more than a hundred people gathered to watch the setting sun line up in her sculpture Sun Tunnels, a large viewing device. CLUI photoThe annual Wendover Work Party brought a couple dozen people to Wendover again to help with large construction and maintenance tasks. This year the final touches were put on Exhibit Hall 3, whose 22 display rooms began to be used this year. Thanks to all the work partiers for their summer sweat: Lauren Allen, Matthew Coolidge, Helki Frantzen, Oswaldo Gonzalez, Jen Hofer, John Hogan, Mark Koven, Jed Lackritz, Ben Loescher, John Mack, Sohrab Mohebbi, Ian Page, Rich Pell, Rob Ray, Aurora Tang, Dan Torop, Jesse Vogler, and Wendy Wischer. ♦