Salvation Mountain Research

The museum is researching Desert Sized Art as part of it’s Artist-in-Residence program funded by the Stern Foundation. We have a wall assigned for dynamic research – as visitors place their votes for things that interest them, the artist finds similar art installations to hang, creating an interactive exhibit. As the exhibit grows, we develop the concept of Desert Sized Art and what types appeal to the local community.

We took a weekend to explore some local Desert Sized Art – the famous Salvation Mountain in Niland, just 40 mins north.

The Folk Art Society of America has declared Salvation Mountain a national folk art shrine worthy of preserving. Leonard Knight created the mountain out of adobe covered straw,  tires, and natural wood supports. In the middle of the barren desert it’s a colorful haven and obviously a labor of love. He worked on it for over 30 years. It still has signs of expansion.

I loved the colored trees and in-sets like little treats that showed pictures and stories of the mountain’s progress.

While we were exploring the mountain, we saw in the distance the concrete water tanks that would have served the army base. They were covered in their own sort of art, but a very different theme than Salvation Mountain – The Karma Sutra.

I’m interested to know which art was placed first, though I think I have an inkling.

We also stopped to see the mud pots – geothermally heated boiling vats of mud. 

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