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Desert ghosts

Here’s some more art that’s worth traveling for. Next time you’re in Las Vegas, take a detour 115 miles north. There, near Death Valley, you’ll find the ghost town of Rhyolite as well as the Goldwell Open Air Museum. It’s as out of the way as any museum you’ll ever find, and features an array of ghostly sculptures in keeping with its surroundings.


The Last Supper, by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski, is a spirited interpretation of Christ and his disciples, and was the first sculpture to be installed at the Museum in 1984. To create them, Szukalski coated real models in wet plaster and posed them like the Da Vinci painting. When the plaster set, the models slipped out. The sculptures were then coated in fiberglass to make them weatherproof.

Szukalski, who died in 2000, loved the freedom of creating art in the American West – and the open desert of the Amargosa Valley epitomizes this freedom. Six additional pieces of art have been added since 1984 by artists such as Hugo Heyrman, Dre Peeters, David Spicer and Fred Bervoets. They include a 25ft-high pink woman made of cinder blocks, a 24ft-high steel prospector (with penguin) and a winged woman atop a wooden pillar.

Photos: Charles Morgan

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  • andrew

    September 15, 2007

    they look like statues

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