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Adam Jonas Horowitz, Stonefridge (aka Fridgehenge)

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About the Artist/Site

There is an entire “world” of replicas of the megalithic English monument Stonehenge, some which have been temporary structures and others which have become almost permanent. Over three hundred have been documented, from the follies of the 1800s to the present, and it is said that Stonehenge is the most reproduced ancient monument in the United States. So although Adam Horowitz, a documentary filmmaker, hadn’t realized the range of the worldwide attraction to this monument when he conceived of his project, he himself was moved to create one. He had visited the original at age 12, and was so inspired that he studied archaeology in college. He decided to make his version out of junked refrigerators of all shapes, colors, and models.

Stonefridge was constructed on a closed city dump on the northwest side of Santa Fe. It rose 18 feet high and comprised a circle 100 feet in diameter. Rather than sited to align with the sun, as in the original, Horowitz’s version, facing west,  was aligned with the power source of Los Alamos National Laboratories, home of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. The location was chosen carefully: the artist, a critic of nuclear power, wanted to ensure that the Labs (home of what he calls the “atomic solstice”) were viewable from the Stonefridge site.

Its genesis was in 1996, when shocked by the mountains of appliances piled up at the Santa Fe landfill, Horowitz was inspired to create a “megalithic, post-apocalyptic” “anti-monument” to consumerism and the incredible amount of industrial waste that is geometrically increasing all over the world. He described his work as a “black humor approach to…the downfall of civilization.”

Horowitz first approached the city of Santa Fe in 1997 with his proposal; finally, after 1 ½ years of meetings with every possible office and municipal committee, and underwritten by a $1 million insurance policy, his proposal was accepted. Nevertheless, the first two iterations – first, with 200 refrigerators, and next with 99 – were “accidentally” bulldozed by the City’s Public Works Department. Horowitz continued to persevere, however, despite these setbacks and other lower-level forms of vandalism. The erection of the work was filmed as a performance piece, with Horowitz himself robed in the garb of authority and the workers wearing loincloths and using primitive technology – teepee poles, ropes, and pulleys rigged into a human-powered crane – to move them into place, so as to underscore the concept that “we are slaves to this consumer society.” Some 140 refrigerators were ultimately included in the monument; the columns in the outside ring were two refrigerators high and topped with another ring of refrigerators. The interior columns were even taller. They were bolted together and weighted down on the interior with adobe bricks. The sign at the entrance read, “From the Stone Age to the Appliance Age.”

Although his original proposal had been to put the work up for two weeks, with the governmental push-back and the “accidental” damages, it became a popular cause celèbre and tourist destination, and ultimately lasted over ten years. It was not well maintained, however, and over time, between vandalism and natural events such as the 100-mph windstorms that raced across the plateaus, some of the refrigerators fell over. Visitors, however, gushed that this heightened the “authenticity” of the site, aligning it even more closely, at least visually, with the original Stonehenge monument.

In early May 2007, the City of Santa Fe decided to dismantle the site after an April storm knocked over many of the taller stacks of refrigerators, declaring that the work was a health and safety hazard. Horowitz was informed of its demise by telephone. Stonefridge is no longer extant.

~Jo Farb Hernández



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 35.686975 / -105.937799

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