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A kind of psychedelic Stonehenge in the desert near Las Vegas

A kind of psychedelic Stonehenge in the desert near Las Vegas
Standing in stark contrast to the beige desert, the artwork called "Seven Magic Mountains" is made from locally quarried limestone that's been brightly painted. The stacks of boulders are 25 to 35 feet tall. (Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau)

If you see stacks of funky fluorescent rocks in the desert south of Las Vegas, it's not a mirage. The quirky artwork called "Seven Magic Mountains" rises from the desert floor about 30 minutes south of the city.

"The totemic forms of 'Seven Magic Mountains' recall stone cairns marking the way for travelers passing through unfamiliar landscapes," the artwork's website says.

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Indeed, the rock art contrasts nicely with ancient petroglyphs found in southern Nevada. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone spent five years creating the pillars.

The fluorescent-colored rock stacks rise from the desert floor more than 20 miles south of the Las Vegas Strip.
The fluorescent-colored rock stacks rise from the desert floor more than 20 miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. (Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau)

Crafted from local limestone, the boulders were painted in fluorescent hues before being stacked. The towers are between 25 and 35 feet tall.

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The free display stands in stark contrast to the desert ground on which it sits. The location, 23 miles south of the MGM Grand, is easily reached by heading south on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip), or even from Interstate 15.

Signage explains the purpose of the art installation called "Seven Magic Mountains." Located south of Sin City, it's the work of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.
Signage explains the purpose of the art installation called "Seven Magic Mountains." Located south of Sin City, it's the work of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. (Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau)

The project is the result of a collaboration between the Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. The fund's website notes the "artwork extends Rondinone's long-running interest in natural phenomena and their reformulation in art."

Further details can be found on signage at the site, where there's plenty of parking to get an up-close look. "Seven Magic Mountains" will remain in place until next May.

The painted rock artwork will be on display until next May.
The painted rock artwork will be on display until next May. (Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau)
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