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Creation & Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine 

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 28 2014
Price: Free-$9
umfa.utah.edu
In the creation of one thing, something else is inevitably destroyed. On a small scale, this phenomenon can be practically undetectable, but in the case of the Bingham Canyon Mine—known as the Rio Tinto Kennecott Mine—it can be seen from outer space. The current Utah Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Creation & Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine, curated by Donna Poulton, presents this idea through more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs created since mining began in 1906. Today it is the largest man-made excavation on Earth, and the UMFA show demonstrates how this process of creation and destruction can be beautiful—not only serving humanity, but generating fascinating works of art. Jonas Lie uses the mine as a subject for early 20th-century canvases capturing the modernity of the industrialized West. In 1917’s “Bingham Mine,” we gaze into the pit and see a symphony of small puffs of black & white smoke, minuscule steam engines and steam shovels in comparison to the magnitude of the mine. A photographic land scan from 2013 shows the damage to the mine from a devastating slide that shut down operations. In the scan, we can only comprehend the scale of destruction by the 18-wheelers half covered with debris at the very base. An iconic mid-century photographic portrait by Andreas Feininger, “Brakeman”, is homage to industry, monumentality and, ultimately, the human spirit of the mine. At the end of the day, it’s about more than just carbon, calcium, iron, copper and gold; it’s human lives that have made it possible. (Ehren Clark, City Weekly)

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