The Goldwell Open Air Museum and Artist Residency is located next to the entrance to Rhyolite Ghost Town. This open air art exhibit has many fine examples of modern desert art that are truly one of a kind. This ghost town art gallery setting is just a few miles away from Beatty, Nevada and Death Valley is right next door. When touring this region, the Rhyolite Ghost Town should be at the top of the destination list and the Goldwell Open Air Museum is like an added bonus for the overall experience!
Desert artists do not depend upon high visitor numbers, unlike the big city artists that strive for their works to displayed in a famous museum to enable maximum exposure. Desert art also adheres to themes that appeal to the few and not the many. A devoted fan of modern desert art will have to travel many miles just to see an outdoor desert art exhibit, because these galleries tend be located way off the beaten path. As can be imagined, the modern open air desert art galleries just patiently wait way out in the middle of nowhere to be discovered by visitors that casually pass by. For those who do not know that the gallery is there, the unexpected surprise can have an uplifting effect.
The choice of the remote desert setting for an outdoor art exhibit can add a dramatic effect to the content that is conveyed. The location of the Goldwell Open Air Museum is next to a spooky old ghost town that was once a promising new city before the gold mine went bust. This location is just a few miles away from Death Valley, which is a place of extreme hardship where many lives have perished. In the distance, the Funeral Mountain casts a forbidding shadow over this entire area, especially on an overcast day. The location of the Goldwell Open Air Museum certainly adds intrigue to the artwork on display.
At the Goldwell Open Air Museum, there truly are some unique styles of sculpture art that can be admired for quite a spell. The tall nude blonde figure made of building block material is world famous. The ghostly white plaster cast cloaked figures of the Biblical Last Supper with the Funeral Mountain in the background is a great example of surrealistic modern desert art. The rusty steel sculpture of Shorty Harris and his whiskey hallucination sidekick penguin is one of the main attractions that conveys the wild west history of this place. Even the concrete and mosaic tile couch sitting in a field of sagebrush, cactus and creosote offers something for the eyes to see. The stone circles and the tall headless wooden bust on a pole practically beckon onlookers to stop and scratch the old thinking cap in wonder. Meanwhile, every glimpse of the ghostly draped figures inspires haunting thoughts that will be reflected upon for many miles further on down the road.
While touring Rhyolite Ghost Town, wandering around the Goldwell Open Air Museum grounds simply is a must to do. Once again, leaving a charitable donation is customary and this is what helps to keep the art displays on the proverbial desert canvas. There is no other comparable outdoor art museum anywhere else in the world and to find such a display of art way out in the desert sure can make a tour of Rhyolite much more fascinating!
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