7 of the World’s Most Remote Art Installations

In a world of blockbuster art shows and museum selfies, there is a need for the kind of art experience that connects the viewer more authentically with a place. These seven artworks—some by the very same artists who draw crowds to those headline exhibitions—may be tricky to get to, but there is an experience gained in the journey that you can’t quite get from a trip to your local museum.


One of Walter de Maria’s most significant pieces of land art, The Lightning Field, is also shrouded in mystery. The work’s exact location, somewhere in the high desert of western New Mexico, is a tightly held secret. To get there, you have to make a reservation through the Dia Art Foundation, which maintains the site. In the tiny town of Quemado (about three hours from Albuquerque) you’ll be met by an employee who drives you 45 minutes to the site, where a simple cabin is set up to spend the night. No electronic devices are allowed, so that means no Instagramming. Visitors are instead encouraged to fully connect with the experience and to spend as much time as possible at the epic, shifting installation—particularly around sunset and sunrise, when golden light briefly reflects off the grid of 400 polished stainless steel poles.


By Amanda Slater from Coventry, West Midlands, UK ("Inside Australia". Lake Ballard. WA) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Antony Gormley's work is committed to the exploration of the body and place and is usually based on metal casts of his own body. For Inside Australia, which is made up of 51 sculptures spread across the flat surface of (the usually dry) Lake Ballard, Gormley instead scanned the figures of residents of Menzies, the closest town to the installation site, 30 miles away. Menzies is about a two-hour drive from Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and 500 miles from Perth, however it’s common for the road to be closed following heavy rainfall. Visitors driving to the site also have to look out for “wandering livestock and wildlife.” Once there, you can camp freely at Lake Ballard, but must bring your own water and firewood.


Lars Vilks is no stranger to controversy; the Swedish artist has had a bounty on his head since he depicted Muhammad as a dog in 2007 and survived an assassination attempt in Copenhagen last year, which left one person dead. Before all this, Vilks declared the founding of the micronation of Ladonia in southern Sweden’s Kullaberg Nature Reserve to house his two huge unsanctioned art pieces, which the local council had threatened with removal. While becoming a citizen of Ladonia is easy (you just fill out an application form), visiting the two sculptures of Nimis, made from salvaged driftwood, and the stone Arx is a little trickier. From the Himmelstorps Hembygdsgård, a preserved 19th-century farmhouse inside the reserve, you follow occasional yellow arrows and Ns painted on trees, winding through the woods and up some steep climbs for around 30 minutes … or more if you get lost.


Veronique Dupont/AFP/Getty Images

This incongruous Prada storefront seen along a dusty road 26 miles northwest of Marfa (itself a three-hour drive from the nearest airport in El Paso) is, in fact, an art installation by Elmgreen & Dragset. The piece was installed in 2005 and, even though Prada licensed the use of its trademark and provided items from its collection, is generally interpreted as a critique of consumerism. Admittedly, it’s difficult to really use the term "remote" in reference to an installation that has been Instagrammed infinite times and Tumbl’d by Beyoncé, but getting to Prada Marfa requires just enough effort to make it count.


In the last 15 or so years, the sleepy island of Naoshima in Japan's Seto Inland Sea has reinvented itself from a declining fishing community to a center for contemporary art and home to the Setouchi Triennale. Installations around the island include old homes that have been converted into art sites after being abandoned by the disappearing local population, a public bathhouse decorated with kitschy objects culled from the designer's world travels, and two large pumpkin sculptures by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. From Uno, in Okayama Prefecture, around two hours by train from Osaka, you can take a slow ferry across the sea to Naoshima, whose slow pace seems a world away from Japan’s frenetic mega cities. When you arrive, you can rent a bicycle to explore the installations dotted around the island.


Pierre-Henry Deshayes/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a long, lonely trek into the Norwegian Arctic, to the very end of the pan-European road E75, to find this piece. It is a collaboration between the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois (in what would be her final work) and memorializes the 91 women, girls, and Sámi men burned at the stake, on suspicion of witchcraft, 300 years ago. The breathtaking piece comprises a 410-foot-long Memorial Hall, at the end of which a steel-and-smoked-glass room, named The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved, houses a circle of mirrors reflecting a flaming steel chair.


Spiral Jetty, a 1500-foot-long and 15-foot-wide coil that juts out from Utah’s Great Salt Lake, was inscribed into art infamy when, just two years after it was created, it disappeared underwater. A year later its creator, Robert Smithson, died at the age of 35, in a helicopter crash.

The water levels at Great Salt Lake had been unusually low in 1970 when Smithson created the work and so it vanished when they returned to their normal levels. Spiral Jetty reappeared in 1999, covered in salt crystals and its black color now improbably shining white. The piece still vanishes from time to time. Dia Art Foundation, which manages the site, states that it is visible when water levels are below approximately 4195 feet and advises bringing water, food, and waterproof boots, along with weather-appropriate clothing, when making the two-and-a-half-hour trip from Salt Lake City.

Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

Graphic Design Series Shows Which Fonts Your Favorite Logos Use

Unless you’re a dedicated design geek, you probably can’t recognize the fonts used in the logos of some of the most recognizable companies in the world—even if you see them every day. Enter graphic designer Emanuele Abrate, whose latest project, Logofonts, illuminates the favorite fonts of the brands you see every day.

As we spotted on Adweek, Logofonts takes a logo—like, for instance, Spotify’s—and replaces the company’s name with the font in which it's written. Some fonts, like Spotify’s Gotham, might be familiar, while others you may never have heard of. Nike’s and Red Bull’s Futura is so commonplace in signage in logos that it’s the subject of an entire book called Never Use Futura. (Other companies that use it include Absolut Vodka and Domino’s Pizza, and many more.) But you most likely aren’t familiar with Twitter’s Pico or Netflix’s Bebas Neue.

Abrate is a managing partner at grafigata, an Italian blog and online academy focused on graphic design. In his work as a freelance designer, he focuses on logo design and brand identities, so it wasn’t hard for him to track down exactly which fonts each brand uses.

“When I see a logo, I wonder how it was conceived, how it was designed, what kind of character was used and why,” Abrate tells Mental Floss. The Logofonts project came from “trying to understand which fonts they use or which fonts have been modified (or redesigned) to get to the final result.”

The Nike logo reads 'Futura.'

The Twitter logo reads 'Pico.'

The Red Bull Logo reads 'Futura BQ.'

The Netflix logo reads 'Bebas Neue.'

You can check out the rest of the Logofonts project and Abrate’s other work on his Behance or Facebook pages, and on his Instagram.

[h/t Adweek]

All images courtesy Emanuele Abrate


More from mental floss studios