Goldwell Open Air MuseumAlbert Szukalski (1945 - 2000) and others

Status

Extant

Address

Rhyolite, Nevada, 89003, us

Visiting Information

The Goldwell Open Air Museum is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Admission is free, and parking is available on site.

About the Artist/Site

Just five miles east of Death Valley and about 115 miles north of Las Vegas lies the small ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. Tucked inside a vast desert valley, the architectural ruins of this once-prosperous gold mining city, somewhat incongruously, is also home to a large scale sculpture park, The Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Founded in 1984 by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski, the sculpture park has become a home for an eclectic array of artistic visions. The park’s first piece was Szukalski’s The Last Supper, a sculptural interpretation of the famous religious spectacle set in the expansive landscape of the deserted Ambergosa Valley. Szukalski recreated the iconic scene with white ghoul-like sculptures formed by draping plaster-soaked burlap over live models until the plaster dried. Szukalski later went on to create a handful of other pieces utilizing different techniques; this set the precedent for many other artists, including fellow Belgians, to come to display their own works.

In the early 1990s Charles Morgan and Suzanne Hackett-Morgan worked closely with Szukalski and founded the Goldwell Open Air Museum in order to foster preservation of the site. It was formalized as an official nonprofit organization after Albert Szukalski’s death in 2000.

Since then the museum has incorporated conservation projects as well as residency programs for artists to maintain and utilize the unique desert landscape. At this time nine known permanent sculptures have been installed in the desert valley, including Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada, by Dr. Hugo Heyrman, a contemporary cinder block sculpture closely resembling the image of  computer pixels; Icara, by Dre Peeters, a wooden sculpture that depicts the famous Greek myth of Icarus; Fred Bervoets’ Tribute to Shorty, a metal sculpture praising a famous historical miner of the region; and Sofie Siegmann’s lighthearted and brightly colored permanent furniture piece, Sit Here!

The Goldwell Open Air Museum is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Admission is free, and parking is available on site.

~Julianna Bach

 

Materials

mixed media & sculpture

Map & Site Information


Rhyolite, Nevada, 89003 us
Latitude/Longitude: 36.90321 / -116.828117

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