Venture into the remote Mojave Desert to find the Goldwell Open Air Museum, a strange 15-acre (6-hectare) outdoor site where vast sculptures have stood since Belgian artist Albert Szukalski first founded the museum in 1984.
Experience the magic and wildness of the desert in a unique way with a trip to this one-of-a-kind museum. Head along the dusty road toward Death Valley. A few miles southwest of the town of Beatty, find the atmospheric ghost town of Rhyolite. Just a few hundred yards away, the open-air museum is unmistakable. See art pieces, which seem very out of place here, strewn across the landscape.
The very first of the sculptures to be created here was The Last Supper, by Szukalski himself. Search for this major sculpture and be amazed by the ghostly vision of Christ and his disciples, with the Amargosa Valley stretching into the distance behind it. These unsettling figures resemble sheets draped around invisible bodies. They have withstood both time and the fierce elements of the desert for decades.
In addition to The Last Supper, discover Lady Desert, a sculpture by Belgian artist Dr. Hugo Heyrman, which is crafted from cinderblocks and combines classical Greece influences with the technological impact of the 21st century. There is also Dre Peeter’s wooden sculpture Icara, reimagining the Greek myth of Icarus. See it from a distance to appreciate the way this bold, crucifix-like sculpture dominates the landscape.
Those with an interest in making art as well as viewing it can enroll in the residency program run by the museum’s nearby Red Barn Art Center. Expand your artistic skills and draw inspiration from the beauty of this untamed landscape on the edge of Death Valley National Park.
The Goldwell Open Air Museum is located a few miles from the town of Beatty. Come at any time of the day or night to enjoy it for free. Budding artists wishing to get involved in the residency program can find out more on the museum’s website.
Situated in Beatty, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Beatty Museum and Historical Society, Cottonwood Park, and Death Valley Nut and Candy Company. Beatty Community Center is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) away.