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Ugo Rondinone’s Magic Mountains Bring Color to the Nevada Desert

Outside of Las Vegas, this mysterious, 35-ft rainbow-hued rock installation is turning heads.

Alongside the Interstate 15, a freeway connecting the two Nevada hotspots of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a series of strange rock formations have recently sprung up. Installed by the artist Ugo Rondinone, these seven totems loom 35-ft up into the air.

Made from locally-sourced boulders, all painted in Day-Glo shades of shocking color, the piece is called Seven Magic Mountains. It’s a public artwork five years in the making, facilitated by the Nevada Museum of Art and the Art Production Fund.

The final result is striking, with the bold colors of Rondinone’s statues creating a sharp contrast to the brown-toned desert landscape. The artist told ARTnews that the shapes of the rock piles were inspired by the “meditation practice of balancing stones,” and also by hoodoos, which are erosion-created rock columns typical to places like Utah.

Situated between the busy highway and the empty natural landscape, Seven Magic Mountains embodies a tension between nature and civilization. It will remain in place for the next two years, over which time an estimated 16 million people will see the work as they pass by on the highway.

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