Southwestern New Mexico Sights

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Lightning Field Review

The sculptor Walter De Maria created Lightning Field, a work of land art composed of 400 stainless-steel poles of varying heights (the average is 20 feet, although they create a horizontal plane) arranged in a rectangular grid over 1 mi by ½ mi of flat, isolated terrain, and installed in 1977. Groups of up to six people are permitted to stay overnight from May through October—the only way you can experience the artwork—at a rustic on-site 1930s cabin. Fees include dinner and breakfast, and range from $150 (May to June, September to October) to $250 (July to August) per person; children and students pay $100. Dia Art Foundation administers Lightning Field, shuttling visitors from Quemado to the sculpture, which is on private land 45 minutes to the northeast. Thunder-and-lightning storms are most common from July to mid-September; book way ahead for visits during this time. If you're lucky, you'll see flashes you'll never forget (though lightning isn't required for the sculpture to be stunning in effect).

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