A colorful desert art escape just outside Las Vegas.
Museums may be reopening but the outdoor art scene in the surrounding deserts is still unmatched when it comes to scale and that surreal flair. Soaring above the desert sands these gigantic neon-colored stacks of boulders create a playful juxtaposition with its arid surroundings. The Seven Magic Mountains is the work of New York-based, Swiss-born mixed-media artist Ugo Rondinone co-produced by Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum of Art.
It has become a place of pilgrimage for celebrities and Instagram influencers since its debut in 2016. While it was only meant to be a temporary two-year exhibition, it has been extended to the end of 2021 due to popular demand. After this provisional extension, one of the towers will be permanently installed on a street in Las Vegas. Although, endeavors to make this permanent feature are in the works.
Bridging geological and abstract realms of art, these locally sourced limestone rocks and their neon coatings have come to represent a bond between humans and nature while evoking themes of existentialism—perhaps not too dissimilar to Apachetas created by indigenous peoples of South America.
The stacks range between thirty and thirty-five feet high—which means you can’t miss them along the Interstate 15—making them one of the largest land-based art installations in the United States completed in more than 40 years.
Rondinone sees this installation as both a physical and symbolic mid-way between the natural and the artificial. The land, mountains and Jean Dry Lake represent nature, while the constant flow of traffic and the mirage-like blur of neon car lights beteen Los Angeles and Las Vegas represent the artificial.
Visiting the exhibition is free and requires no reservations but everyone is required to exercise caution and practice social distancing.
Getting there: Drive north on I-15 to Jean, NV (exit 12). Turn right (east) on NV-161 toward Las Vegas Blvd. Drive approximately 5 miles north on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your right (east).
[Featured Image: Natosha Benning via Unsplash]