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'Seven Magic Mountains' Added To Nevada Land Art Collection

Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016. Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art.

"Seven Magic Mountains" stands in the Jean Dry Lake bed south of Las Vegas.

You might say Las Vegas has a bit of a fascination with neon.

Which could be part of the reason Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone decided to color seven massive rock totems neon – to stand out in the middle of the desert in his installation "Seven Magic Mountains."

Made of locally sourced limestone boulders, each stack stands 30-40 feet tall, and each boulder weighs roughly 40,000 pounds. 

Located on the far southern edge of Las Vegas Boulevard along Interstate 15 near Jean dry lake bed, visitors can see it towering over the surrounding terrain for the next two years.

Amanda Horn, the communications director for the Nevada Museum of Art, said that section of the desert was chosen in part because of its connection to previous land art works by Michael Heizer and Jean Tinguely. 

“There is some historical significance to this particular location," she said, “Because this project by Ugo does fit into that land art continuum and that land art dialogue, it made perfect sense to locate it there.” 

Horn also said the project was close to petroglyphs in Sloan Canyon, which is one of the earliest examples of human's interacting with their environment in an artistic way.


Land artists have often been drawn to Nevada and the rest of the desert Southwest. Horn believes it's because of the seemingly desolate nature of the desert.


“I think that it's just a blank palette," she said, "And I think that is one of the reasons that artists have been drawn to the desert for some time now because it brings you out into the open spaces”


The Nevada Museum of Art has had this project in the making for the last five years now. They and Rondinone worked with Las Vegas Paver Corporation to collect the stones. If the company found a stone that meet Rondinone's specifications, they would set it aside. 

The stones were transported one at a time to the site, after being painted and altered so they could be stacked into cairns. 

The site is now open. There are signs directing traffic, a parking lot and interpretive information. 

“We really hope this will be the beginning of a robust continual dialogue about the future of visual arts not only in Las Vegas but across the state,” Horn said. “What a gift it's going to be not only for Las Vegas but for the whole state”

From Desert Companion: Big Picture: Rocking the Art World

Amanda Horn, communications director, Nevada Museum of Art 

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.