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Wednesday, 01 January 2020

Seven Magic Mountains

Written by Jill Weinlein
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While taking a complimentary art walking tour inside the Park MGM Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, I learned that the multi-million dollar curated artwork and installations pay tribute to nature surrounding the Nevada desert and urban parks. The art pieces enhance the MGM park theme and beauty of the resort.

We stopped at a model of renowned Swiss born artist Ugo Rondinone’s unique Seven Magic Mountains. His colorful art installation is located about 20 minutes south of Las Vegas near June Dry Lake. After the tour, I was inspired to hire a SUV to drive out to the exhibit to see it up close.

My driver arrived before sunset and followed Google Maps for about 10 miles to Jean, Nevada, before driving off the paved road onto a dirt trail. As the drive became very bumpy, and we passed a mustang convertible car stuck in the sandy soil, I said, “Are you sure this is how to get to Seven Magic Mountains?”

Later we learned he took the wrong path, and there is a smooth paved road that leads visitors to a parking lot that is parallel to Interstate 15. The free exhibit is open to the public from sunrise to sundown, thanks to Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art and New York City’s Art Production.

New York based Rondinone chose this location for its physicality and symbolism of natural and artificial environment. Known for his array of two dimensional paintings, wax sculptures and now boulders, this two year exhibition in the middle of nature is visible from the artificial, a constant flow of automobiles and people traveling between Los Angeles to Las Vegas along Interstate 15.

This artist incorporates space, fantasy and desire with air, the moon, sun and cosmos. Seeing the land art exhibit after the sun dropped down, a full moon rose, illuminating the magnificent sculptures.

This two year exhibit is made with local, natural materials from a nearby Nevada quarry. The artist collected 33 enormous boulders weighing 10 to 25 tons, and painted bright coats of whimsical neon colored paint, before stacking the rocks into totem towers reaching up to 35 feet tall. Some are cotton candy colored, and one reminded me of The Simpson’s character Bart Simpson in color and shape. They rest on the warm desert floor among flora, fauna, and animal species including endangered desert tortoise and snakes that live in this area.

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Interpretive signage at the installations share the story about the exhibit, and visitors can call (702) 381-5182 to follow prompts and learn more about the artist and his artwork.

Pop art Seven Magic Mountains is land art that draws attention to the beauty of the desert landscape near Las Vegas, a city known for its award winning art, music, sports and entertainment.

©Jill Weinlein

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 January 2020

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