Bob’s Crystal CaveBob Carr (1939 - 2019)

About the Artist/Site

In a small, densely installed room in the desert town of Yucca Valley, California, Bob Carr (1939–2019) physically manifested his “unexacerbated joy” with spray foam, crystals, miniatures, and other found objects. Carr, a founder of the Sky Village Swap Meet, began creating his Crystal Cave in 2004, employing insulation foam, gemstones, a water feature, and more to create a lush, interior oasis.

In an interview with Dylan Thuras (co-founder of Atlas Obscura), Carr said after growing up in poverty, he had been “working for over 50 years to recover my childhood naiveté and innocence.” In the same interview, Carr went on to explain that he “needed to express the uncontainable joy I built up over so many years. That’s surrender. When I look at you, I can see you. Therefore, I am stunned by the beauty of joy of every single human I meet.”

This joy spilled out into his handmade cavern of wonders, built with the clear intention of sharing the magic with others. Before he died, he was often on-site to welcome visitors and when asked who built the cave would respond, “You did!” and then recite his motto, “From you, through me, to you.” 

In 2008, the city of Yucca Valley threatened the parcel of land on which the Swap Meet and Crystal Cave were established with eminent domain. In anticipation of the bulldozers, Carr destroyed the site. The local community rallied around the place, and the Swap Meet was able to stay; however, the cave remained destroyed until two Danish students (Merete Vyff Slyngborg and Mette Woller) rallied to the cause and helped Carr recreate the Crystal Cave in 2010. According to a plaque on site, all of the objects incorporated into the Crystal Cave originated at the Swap Meet or were gifted to Carr from friends of acquaintances. 

The plaque also includes the following statement from Carr, “My intent in the first place was to make it so beautiful that no one would ever get up the nerve to bulldoze it for any reason, even if somebody buys the property. That was an underlying intention I had, because you see from working on it, it is just excruciating labor hour after hour after hour, but everything good is like that.” 

Carr remained present as the maker of and gatekeeper to the Cave, generously doling out mystic observations about the universe and the human condition, until he passed away in January 2019. The site remains accessible on weekends until 2pm.

 

Resources: 

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/18/686533352/joshua-tree-artist-built-a-crystal-cave-of-wonder-with-chicken-wire-spray-foam

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bobs-crystal-cave

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/bobs-crystal-cave-tribute



Materials

gemstones, insulation foam, chicken wire, wood, found objects

Map & Site Information

7028 Theatre Road
Yucca Valley, California, 92284 us
Latitude/Longitude: 34.1255694 / -116.4165959

Status

Extant

Address

7028 Theatre Road, Yucca Valley, California, 92284, United States

Built

begun in 2004, destroyed in 2008, rebuilt in 2010

Visiting Information

Bob's Crystal Cave is located at the Sky Village Swap Meet which is open Saturdays from 6am to 2pm and Sunday from 7am to 2pm. 

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