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 

Art
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See the Secret Paintings Hidden in Gilded Books
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The art of vanishing fore-edge painting—hiding delicate images on the front edges of gilded books—dates back to about 1660. Today, British artist Martin Frost is the last remaining commercial fore-edge painter in the world. He works primarily on antique books, crafting scenes from nature, domestic life, mythology, and Harry Potter. Great Big Story recently caught up with him in his studio to learn more about his disappearing art. Learn more in the video below.

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Candytopia, the Interactive Art Installation Made of Sweet Treats, Is Coming to New York City
Mathew Tucciarone
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A colorful exhibition is sharing some eye candy—and actual candy—with visitors. The sweet art pop-up, called Candytopia, is heading to New York City this summer following successful stints in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Gothamist reports.

Candytopia feels a little like Willy Wonka’s chocolate room. More than a dozen rooms with psychedelic backdrops will be on view, as well as candy-inspired interpretations of famous artworks such as Mona Lisa and The Thinker. The installation is the brainchild of Jackie Sorkin, the star of TLC’s Candy Queen.

Many of the art installations are made from actual candy, but unlike Wonka’s lickable wallpaper, visitors will have to keep their hands and tongues to themselves. Instead, guests will be given samples of various sweet treats like gummies, chocolates, and “nostalgic favorites.”

Forbes named Candytopia one of the best pop-up museums to visit in 2018. New York City seems the perfect place for the exhibit, having formerly hosted other food-inspired pop-ups like the Museum of Pizza and the Museum of Ice Cream.

Candytopia will debut in New York City on August 15 at Penn Plaza at 145 West 32nd Street. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and they can be ordered on Candytopia’s website. Private events and birthday parties can also be arranged.

Keep scrolling to see some more installations from Candytopia.

A wing of the Candytopia exhibit
Mathew Tucciarone

An Egyptian-inspired statue made of candy
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A candy version of the Mona Lisa
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A shark statue
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[h/t Gothamist]

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