Center for Art + Environment
CA+E is an internationally recognized research center dedicated to supporting the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their environments.
Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains
May 11, 2016 through May 11, 2018
Across the desert south of Las Vegas, Nevada, rises a large, colorful anomaly. Seven colossal stone forms defy gravity with their teetering formations. The shapes, reminiscent of naturally-occurring hoodoos, seem poised between monumentality and collapse. The mammoth contemporary cairns created by internationally-renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone evoke the art of meditative rock balancing, and mark his place in the history of Land Art.
Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale, site-specific public artwork by Rondinone that has been nearly five years in the making. The installation, comprised of seven individual towering sculptures, is situated on the far southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard along Interstate 15, approximately a half hour from downtown Las Vegas. Positioned within the Ivanpah Valley and surrounded by mountains, the piece will be on view for two years beginning May 11, 2016.
Mediating between geological formations and abstract compositions, Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains consists of locally-sourced limestone boulders stacked vertically in groups ranging between three and six. Each stone boasts a different fluorescent color; each individual totem stands between thirty and thirty-five feet high.
The artwork extends Rondinone’s long-running interest in natural phenomena and their reformulation in art. The titles and forms of his paintings and sculptures have frequently evoked primordial phenomena such as air, moons, the sun, and the cosmos. Referring concurrently to the natural world, romanticism, and existentialism, Seven Magic Mountains encapsulates a sort of mental trinity that has underpinned the artist’s work for more than two decades. In a new iteration of themes and materials, Seven Magic Mountains creates a sense of romantic minimalism.
“Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between human and nature, artificial and natural, then and now,” states Rondinone.
Located a short distance from Nevada’s legendary Jean Dry Lake where Jean Tinquely and Michael Heizer created significant sculptures, Seven Magic Mountains is one of the largest land-based art installations in the United States completed in over 40 years. The work pays homage to the history of Land Art while also offering a contemporary critique of the simulacra in nearby Las Vegas.
Seven Magic Mountains is produced by Art Production Fund, New York and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno. Located approximately 10 miles south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada, the two-year installation will be on view beginning May 11, 2016.
If you would like to help contribute to this project, please join our Kickstarter campaign.
Seven Magic Mountains Presenting Sponsor: ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. Lead Sponsor: McDonald Carano LLP. Major Sponsors: Banana Republic; Diana Bennett; Nevada Commission on Tourism; Alvaro and Linda Pascotto; VIA Art Fund. Sponsors: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Nevada Department of Transportation; Katie O’Neill and Chris Gonya; Pro Helvetia. Friends of Seven Magic Mountains: Shane Akeroyd; Charles and Margaret Burback Foundation; Denise Cashman; Nathalie De Gunzburg; Mike De Paola; Di Donna Galleries, New York; Fairfax Dorn and Marc Glimcher; Vincent & Shelly Fremont; Robin Greenspun; Jane Holzer; Dayssi & Paul Kanavos; Robert Lococo; Maurice Marciano; Jennifer McSweeney; Nicole Ruvo; Tarissa Tiberti; Michele Quinn; Marlies Verhoeven; Leopoldo Villareal. Additional Support: John Klai; Las Vegas Paving Corporation. Special Thanks to Gladstone Gallery.