Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shocks & Awe: Mysterious Art in New Mexico

from the article,

A classic patch of sagebrush-covered land, set on an empty plateau 7,200 feet high. A ring of jagged mountains at its edges, out-cliche-ing any Hollywood western. And in the middle, 400 lightning rods, custom-made from stainless steel and laid out in a grid that stretches a mile in one direction and a kilometer in the other. Set 220 feet apart, the rods tower to several times the height of a tall man; whatever kind of mound or furrow they get planted in, their tops all reach to the same table-flat height.

This is that "great work of art," built in 1977 by a 42-year-old New Yorker named Walter de Maria, who got his patrons at the Dia Art Foundation to buy the land and commission its conversion into art. De Maria and his work are famous in the art world. What seems strange, once you've visited his masterwork, is how they could be so little-known outside of it.


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