Nevada is the ideal destination for roadtrippers that enjoy a slice of culture with the roof down. Visitors can take a break, stretch their legs and feed their soul whilst exploring the many public art exhibits dotted across the desert.
Ranging from iconic sculptures by famous artists to pieces that have seemingly popped out of the ground, the state’s ‘Free-range Art Highway’, takes travellers from Las Vegas to Reno, and the ‘Cowboy Corridor’ from Reno to West Wendover, where the roads are worth taking slowly, and turning the journey into a four-wheel gallery tour.
Seven Magic Mountains
Created by Renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondine and in collaboration with Nevada Museum of Art, Seven Magic Mountains are a permanent and iconic fixture in the Nevada desert. The three-storey high towers sit just off Interstate 15 and stand out against the landscape, built from rocks sourced from the surrounding desert that have been painted in a rainbow of vivid colours. The sculpture intends to symbolise the natural and artificial with its materials and colours. Its location also adds to its significance, sitting between mountain ranges and Jean Dry Lake and providing artistic eye candy for those travelling between Los Angeles and Vegas.
International Car Forest of The Last Church
Just off Highway 95 and located in Goldfield is one of Nevada’s most unique attractions, the International Car Forest of the Last Church. collection of abandoned cars buried nose down, the exhibition is decorated by artists and visitors gone by. The Car Forest was created by long-time Goldfield resident Mark Rippie who wanted to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest car forest. Joined by artists Chad Sort and Zak Sargent, the three buried the noses of more than 40 vehicles to create the forest of cars. Each car has become unique in its design, with some balanced-on top of each other, and new artists are commissioned locally and from across the globe to create an ever changing gallery that visitors can explore for free.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
This weird and wild sculpture park sits just off the road towards Death Valley, covering almost eight acres it is home to seven huge structures created by a group of well-known Belgian artists, who were drawn to the remote location to pursue their artistic visions free from convention. Open to visitors 24/7 with no admission fee, the park’s sculptures are permanent fixtures of the Mojave Desert, including a 25-foot pink woman and a 24-foot steel prospector and a penguin. One of the park’s most famous sculptures is a ghostly recreation of Leonardo Davinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, originally created to last two years, the piece was created in 1984 but has stood the test of time. The artist, Albert Szukalski, was attracted to the Mojave Desert due to its resemblance to the deserts of the Middle East, and its proximity to Death Valley – a not so subtle reference.
Thunder Mountain Monument
Just by Nevada’s I-80 sits Thunder Mountain Monument, a massive handmade open-air gallery and sculpture garden, created over the course of many decades by the late Frank Van Zant, otherwise known as Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder. Van Zant created the gallery using artefacts and other items he found in the Nevada desert as a way to honour American Indian heritage and as a monument to the ‘Great Spirit’ who he claimed was keeping him there. Today visitors to Thunder Mountain Monument can explore the sculptures Van Zant created. Admission is free but donations are appreciated to help preserve the site.