Managed by the City’s Public Art Program, and funded with $2.2 million from the RDA’s major reconstruction of Regent Street, Pages of Salt is Salt Lake City’s largest investment in a single piece of public art to date.
Pages of Salt is comprised of stainless steel rods and 336 Teflon flags that cover the entire north façade of the Walker Center Garage. The work’s themes are specific to its location on Regent Street, and in Utah more broadly. In Kahn’s research as part of responding to the Arts Council’s Request for Qualifications for the project, he became fascinated with the site’s connection to the printing presses of both The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, which were located on Regent Street for over 80 years. The images of hundreds of newspaper pages draped on conveyer belts echo the many identical swaying parts Kahn often utilizes in his wind sculptures.
Kahn was also inspired by the Great Salt Lake and the salt flats it leaves behind. The flags’ light-catching whiteness and square cutouts reflect the crystalline structure of salt and the patterns left by the receding lake. The artwork is intended to suggest a vertical cloud of newspapers swaying in the wind. By making the wind patterns visible, Kahn hopes to stir a sense of awe and appreciation for our environment and allow viewers to reflect on their relationship with nature.
Based in Northern California, Ned Kahn has created over 100 public works in the last 30 years, throughout the country and abroad. His installations often mirror or respond to nature, engaging wind, water, fog, and light to bring an increased appreciation of the natural environment. In his initial application for the Regent Street Project, Kahn wrote “I am deeply fascinated with the history and phenomena of the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding region. I am intrigued with the idea of creating an artwork for Regent Street that would draw its inspiration from the amazing natural forces and phenomena that occur in the region as well as responding to the actual forces that are present on the Regent Street site.”