Experience the Lightning Field
One of the most impressive attractions in New Mexico is the Lightning Field. This spectacular work of land art is a field of poles that conduct lightning, creating a brilliant show for small audiences. The Lightning Field was created by late sculptor, Walter De Maria in 1977. Today, it is recognized as one of the most significant works of land art in the 20th century.
“The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work.” – De Maria, 1977
What Is the Lightning Field?
This massive work of art consists of 400 stainless steel poles with pointed tips. The poles measure 2 inches in diameter and are set 220 feet apart from each other. The height of each pole varies from 15-27 feet, but the tips of the poles are at the same level because of the uneven ground. This meticulously arranged piece of artwork attracts lightning in a manner that amazes all those who experience it. The activity of the Lightning Field is especially breathtaking during sunrise and sunset when the stainless steel poles project colorful transformations.
Where Can You Find It?
The Lightning Field is located on a flat plain in the remote high desert of New Mexico, at an elevation of 7,200 feet above sea level. The exact location, however, is a well-kept secret, adding to the appeal of this spectacular work of art. Visitors have to check in at the Dia office in Quemado and are driven to the Lightning Field from there.
Are You Going?
The only way to visit the Lightning Field is to book an overnight stay with the Dia Foundation. Spots fill up fast, so you have to book your trip far in advance. If you want to go next year, then book your visit as soon as possible! You can book a party for up to six people if you act early in the year. The 2018 slots are already full, and bookings for 2019 begin in February. The Lightning Field is open for visitation from May to October, and the cost of the stay is $150 per person. This goes up to $250 in the most popular months of July and August.
The drive from Quemado to the Lightning Field is roughly 3 hours long, so be ready for the ride. You’ll also want sturdy footwear and layers of clothing for the chilly evenings. Once you reach Quemado, there will be no grocery shops and very few restaurants so be sure to bring snacks and water.
This won’t be a quick trip there and back, but something you’ll enjoy over a period of time. Many have called it a spiritual experience, though they recommend bringing a deck of cards to entertain yourself while you wait for the show (there’s no wi-fi). It’s also important to note that you won’t be allowed to take photographs.
The Lightning Field is an incredible and unique work of art, something everyone should experience at least once. Let us know if you’ve been there or if you plan to go!