Neek picked up a free magazine called The Sunday in the lobby of the hotel we were staying at, El Cortez, which had an article about a huge art installation outside of Jean, Nevada called Seven Magic Mountains. Our original plan for our final day in Vegas was to have a buffet brunch at Bellagio and head back to LA, but when she showed me the article and told me it was on our way out, I said, “Let’s check it out!”
It felt counterintuitive, after braving the gridlock of Las Vegas Boulevard leaving Bellagio trying to get on the I-15 to leave the I-15 and return to Las Vegas Boulevard in search of Seven Magic Mountains, but that’s exactly what you have to do to find it! We drove for several miles, but finally the seven stacks of multi-colored totems appeared on the horizon.
Man, is it an impressive arrangement! Very inspiring to view in contrast to the dry desert background.
The walking road to reach Seven Magic Mountains is very dusty and there were many signs warning to stay on the path to avoid the possibility of encountering snakes, so I recommend a daytime viewing. Neek and I happened to arrive on a sunny day, which made for optimal viewing. But it was extremely windy, so I recommend sunglasses and appropriate wipes to clean off the dust when you get back to your car. But it’s totally worth going out of your way for!
When Lex got off the I-15 and drove down the road, I thought, “Oh no! This couldn’t be the road to Seven Magic Mountains”! We saw a van turn off to a dirt road and saw a few cars parked there. Several men with some cameras and serious telephoto lenses were making their way up a hill to shoot (later we found it was the Jean Dry Lake bed). No way were we going on that rocky, gravel pitted, “just give me a flat tire roadway” in our rental car so we continued on……
Then we saw it!
There it was! All colorful and tall against a brown desert landscape. I swear it looked like pieces of playdoh stacked on top of each other. Ugo Rondinone’s sculpture made me grin like a little kid.
We walked closer to it and found that it was sectioned off with a fence, but no troubles, you just need to walk towards the left and there will be a gate to let you in closer to the art piece. A sign gives a background of the artist, the art piece, area and why it is there. The installation was co-produced by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and New York City’s Art Production Fund.
The height of the Seven Magic Mountains is staggering and the colors are so bright and day-glo that you might think some of the paint they used may have been leftovers from the 80’s. Anybody want to wake up before you go go?
There were only a handful of people there taking pictures and some girls doing weird gymnastic moves on the boulders. Everyone was pretty respectful and just looked around the artwork taking photos. There are some signs around warning against vandalism and to watch out for snakes.
It was pretty windy out there and I’m still getting the dirt and dust out of my shoes but it was worth it. The installation will only be there for two years and will be gone by 2018 although a piece will be kept and displayed at a park owned by the MGM Resorts International since they were the project’s biggest donor.