Sunday, February 10, 2013

Goldwell Open Air Museum

From Hoover Dam I drove back to Death Valley made a couple of stops along the way.  I had heard about Goldwell Open Air Museum, located near the ghost town of Ryolite, and was looking forward to seeing it.

The first and probably the most famous sculpture were created by Albert Szukalski, a Belgian artist who came here in 1984. The Last Supper, was modeled after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. The individual figures were made by draping plaster coated burlap over live models from Beatty who had to stand in the hot sun for 20 minutes until the plaster dried. It is fitting that they look ghostly and might have come from the town.

In the same year, using the same techniques, Szukalski also created Ghost Rider, a plaster figure preparing to mount a bicycle that belonged to his friend John.  It just invited one to interact with it as did all of the other pieces in the museum.

On the side of the hill was the Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada, welcoming visitors to the area.  Hugo Heyrman, a computer artist, first created it on the computer and then used cinder blocks to make the final version as seen here.  It looks very much like the pixel graphic designers had to contend with in the early days of computer graphics.

The Tribute to Shorty Harris by Fred Bervoets was created to remember the prospector whose mining discovery of 1904 let to the gold rush.  The penguin is sort of a self portrait of the artist who was from the cold country of Belgium and felt out of place in this hot desert. He also felt that the miner needed a companion.
I almost missed the work of Dre Peters who created the hand-carved female version of Icarus called Icara.  Looking up at the sculpture forces you to have the feeling of flying.

One of my favorites was Sofie Siegmann’s Sit Here!, created in 2000.  It has not worn well in the desert and several of the tiles have come off. Sill it was fun to see and inspiring.

You can see Venus to the right in the distance.

On the porch of the visitor center was this sculpture made from rusted bits. It is an idea I might try on my fence at home. Goodness knows there are enough rusty objects to be found in the woods surrounding my home.
Here is another piece but I could not find any information about it. To me it represented the Universe.
The Museum wasn't kept up as good as I hoped and there was no one in the museum store/information center (the building in the photo below).  Everything looked abandoned like the town nearby. I am still very glad that I took the time to visit.  I liked it much more than Hoover Dam.

HERE is a good web site about the artists.


1 comment:

Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group Reading List said...

I really appreciate this post. I'm glad you are visiting and blogging about art and architecture too.
That ghost town is surprising!
Please remember to include pix of yourself! I like seeing you peeping out of that dugout.