If you’re planning to drive between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there are some unique and quirky places to see along the way. But if you’re driving between now and March of 2018, you might want to stop at the Seven Magic Mountains. Sarah Dandashy of Ask A Concierge explains why this roadside attraction is a must-see destination.
You don’t need to know anything about “simulacra” or the intersection of existentialism and romanticism to appreciate the colorful, playful roadside rest stop known as Seven Magic Mountains. Drivers on the stretch of Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles can rest their toes and their minds while viewing this two-year-long exhibition of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s painted rocks stacked more than 30 feet high.
Situated ten miles south of where the Vegas Strip meets Henderson’s Rose Parkway, these Lego-like masses are pure eye candy for travelers who need a break from staring at the pavement.
Artist Rondinone claims to be transfixed by the intersection of nature and the “artificial” world of skyscrapers, tourist traps, and all things built by humans. You’ll gaze in confused wonder at the world’s largest pebbles as you (possibly) contemplate the artist’s mind-jarring theories about why painted boulders represent goodness and the highway is the epitome of evil. Never mind, just enjoy the pretty colors and kooky shapes that are somehow stacked to defy gravity.
Travel to Nevada is always a unique experience, and the Seven Magic Mountains bring all sorts of questions to mind, particularly why it is that Las Vegas attracts this kind of art the same way a carbon-arc lamp draws moths. When you travel to Las Vegas and/or Los Angeles, there’s plenty to see and do, and Rondinone’s artificially balanced and colored “locally sourced” stones are one more “must-selfie” along the way.
The “dayglow totems” help viewers experience a widened emotional range while simultaneously allowing for deep insight into the condition of mankind. The “mental trinity” of Romanticism, nature, and all things existential are showcased in Rondinone’s art.
Leave the philosophy texts in your trunk as you ponder the meaning of human existence under the shadow of one of the seven solemn totems. Or, depending on your attitude and how tired you are from driving, wolf down a bagged sandwich and guzzle a cold drink in the shade of Nevada’s newest extension of the Las Vegas Strip’s kitschy towers of travel Babel.
It’s all coming down in May of 2018, so make sure you pack a selfie stick, a couple of lawn chairs, and closed-toe shoes. Note that signs warn of rattle snakes and other typical Nevada desert hazards, like overexposure to the sun. As you wander through the exhibit, which is open from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, you’ll likely bump into gaggles of LA-to-Vegas trekkers taking photos by the thousands.
Unlike almost everything else in Las Vegas and L.A., the exhibit is free, parking is free, and there is no supervision. That means you can bring your dog and adult beverages to consume “on the rocks.” Okay, this isn’t exactly Van Gogh at the Hermitage, but it’s close to casinos, nightlife, The Strip, and dozens of live shows. The “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, Nevada’s most famous work of art, is only 20 miles north of the spray-painted philosopher’s stones.
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By Sarah Dandashy and Nino D. Gordeli for PeterGreenberg.com. You can visit her website AskAConcierge.tv.