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Utah Museum of Fine Arts goes deep, with art of Bingham Canyon Mine

Bingham Canyon Mine » Museum explores visions of world’s largest human-made excavation.

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Juxtaposed with Smithson’s work are paintings by current Salt Lake City artist Jean Arnold. They evoke the spiral patterns of the mine’s many layers and suggest a kinship between the mountain that once stood and the mountain-size empty space now there.

Arnold is the only woman artist represented in the show, though Poulton said, "it’s not for lack of trying."

At a glance

A rich vein of inspiration

“Creation and Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine,” an exhibit of more than 100 works about the Utah landmark.

Where » Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Central Campus Drive, University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City.

When » Opens Friday, May 30, and runs through Sept. 28.

Hours » Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays); Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays.

Admission » $9 for adults; $7 for youth (ages 6 to 17) and seniors; free for University of Utah students, staff and faculty, UMFA members, college students and children under 6.

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Another famous name represented is the nature photographer Ansel Adams. A display case contains bound volumes of Fortune magazine, which commissioned Adams to photograph the mine in the 1950s.

Poulton said it was strictly a pay-the-bills gig for Adams. "He did them reluctantly," she said. "He would rather be in the national parks."

Other modern photographers — Edward Burtynsky, David Maisel and Michael Light are all represented here — capture the eerie beauty of the human-made landscapes.

And the exhibit includes a photo by artists from the Center for Land Use Interpretation, shot from a helicopter two days after the landslide on April 10, 2013, changed again the mine’s topography.

"It changed the image [of the mine] that we know," Poulton said. "Suddenly the entire landscape changed."

One room of the exhibit is an interactive experience, something Virginia Catherall, UMFA’s curator of education, said aims to convey the history, science and art of the Bingham Canyon Mine.

The interactive exhibit includes displays of historical artifacts from the mine, art objects made of the minerals (gold, silver, copper) extracted from the mine, and even audio of the 2013 landslide.

"When you hear it, it’s like a train wreck," Poulton said.

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