Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
Only ten miles outside of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, are seven columns of Day-Glo painted boulders. Construced in 2016, the rocks tell visitors a story of human intervention upon ecological space. Their bright neon colors contrasted against a stark desert environment invite contemplation into modern human advancements. This colorful oasis is a reason to venture beyond the casino floor and out into the surrounding ecosystem, but pack your coconut water instead of your flask, because that desert sun is brutal!
The creator is a Swiss artist named Ugo Rondinone, who has been living and working out of a New York City studio since 1997. "Seven Magic Mountains" is his contribution to the land art movement which started 40 years ago at Dry Lake, Nevada, where the piece is now installed. He aspires to merge pop art with land art to commemorate the creative vision of the 1960s aesthetic movements. Where land art typically blends into its surrounding ecosystem, "Seven Magic Mountains" purposefully clashes against its desert backdrop to generate an artwork of simultaneous "seclusion" and "gathering."
The installation is situated on the Bureau of Land Management property, and it took three years for the production team to cut through the bureaucracy and acquire a permit. Climbing on, dislocating, or defacing the artwork is not allowed. A special law was passed specifically for “Seven Magic Mountains” called “NRS 41.517.” This law reduces the artists’ liability if someone chooses not to think through their actions. ignores the warnings, and hurts themselves while climbing on the rocks. It’s the first time in American history that a law has been passed with a liability carve-out for public art.
Originally intended to be a temporary installation, the success of Seven Magic Mountains persuaded the Bureau of Land Management to extend its permit through 2021. Please note, there are some photography restrictions. Photos can only be used for private noncommercial use and professional equipment like tripods are not allowed. Nevertheless, in 2018 the Reno Gazette Journal reported that more than two million people had already posted pictures of this work of art on Instagram. With your help, it may hit the five million mark!
Cover image by Loe Loshkovska is available on Pexels.