Goldwell Open Air Museum in Rhyolite, NV

Towards the ending of December, Josh and I took a weeklong road trip. We visited Las Vegas and Death Valley National Park. We originally planned to visit Portland, Oregon but thought it’d be best to save that trip for this summer.

We chose these locations because when we first started traveling, we visited Death Valley and Las Vegas often. We still frequent Las Vegas, but more as a getaway then for the casinos and energetic partying. During one of these Vegas trips, we were searching for things to do around the city. We found out about these eerie desert sculptures located at Goldwell Open Air Museum in Rhyolite, Nevada (a ghost town). We decided to check out this location right away!

When you visit Rhyolite, you will notice a sign for the museum and a bungalow with surrounding sculptures. This bungalow is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. You can park for free in the designated areas. The museum is also free and definitely worth a visit to learn more about the local community and art history. You can photograph the artwork for personal use, but avoid touching the pieces. Over the years, visitors have accidentally broken off pieces of the sculptures.

When you’re done you can also go explore the ghost town and hear burros in the distance!

These photos our from the trip we took at the end of December. We celebrated our 12-year anniversary early and wanted to do something nostalgic.

Anyways, more about the museum. It was created in 2000 after the death of the Belgian artist, Albert Szukalski.

Szukalski sculpted the site’s first sculptures in 1984. He is known for his sculpture, The Last Supper, which consists of plaster, robed life-sized forms. He also sculpted Ghost Rider, another plaster figure that stands next to a bicycle.

Other artists have added their work since then. I photographed all of Szukalski’s work (except Desert Flower) as well as these artists/sculptures:

Hugo Heyrman, Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada, 1992.

I’m the darling of digital space, a 3D model of reality,
sharing my feelings with the magical desert,
showing my naked beauty to the virtual future.

In my dreamtime I’m feeling the heat of the light,
on my yellow hair, on my naked body, on my square breasts,
turning around with the world, not afraid of being myself.

I’m the Venus of Nevada, inventing the colors of joy,
sharing my interactive memory and
my background of love with all living things.

Traveller, say good-bye to my system and move on.

Dr. Hugo Heyrman
—Nevada 1992

Dre Peters, Icara, 1992.

Sofie Siegmann, Sit Here!, 2000.

If you’re ever in Las Vegas this is worth a drive out to see. Rhyolite is also located next to the town of Beatty, Nevada, which is considered one of the gateways to Death Valley.




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