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Spend the Night in a Massive 'Lightning Field' in the New Mexico Desert

''The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work.”

That statement was written by artist Walter De Maria, and it lives in the cabin notebook at his art installation The Lightning Field. The massive work, set on a plateau in the New Mexico desert, is comprised of 400 stainless steel poles with pointed tips, arranged in a 1-mile-by-1-kilometer grid. The poles measure 2 inches in diameter, and each is set 220 feet apart from the next. The height of each pole varies with the undulating ground—from about 15 feet to nearly 27 feet—so that the tops of all the poles are level.

Since its completion in 1977, The Lightning Field is only ever occupied by six people at a time. Visiting requires making a reservation and spending the night in a small cabin, which costs $150 to $250 per person depending on the time of year. It’s only open from May to October—which is during lightning season.

Even after you’ve made a reservation, the exact location of The Lightning Field is never disclosed. Instead, there’s a pickup point in the town of Quemado, New Mexico where the Dia Art Foundation (the organization that commissioned and maintains the work) has an office. There, a driver picks up the scheduled guests and takes them to the cabin about an hour away. Simple meals are provided, electronics are not allowed, and after the mid-afternoon drop-off, visitors don’t see anyone from the outside world again until 11 a.m. the next morning.

The Lightning Field is meant to be experiential art. Photos aren’t allowed (and some say it’s rather unphotographable, anyway), and while camping isn’t allowed either, De Maria (along with associates Robert Fosdick and Helen Winkler) intended for visitors to spend as much time in the field as possible, particularly during daybreak and at dusk. Contrary to its name, the sculpture isn’t about seeing lightning—in fact, a strike on one of the poles only occurs around 60 times a year, despite being in the high desert, some 7220 above sea level. It's probably for the best, as lightning is actually destructive to the work.

For those who might be alarmed by the idea of such stark isolation, fear not: a short-wave radio will connect guests to the Dia Office if necessary.

Banner image: John Cliett, Dia Art Foundation // Instagram 

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
Original image
Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
Original image
Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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