No museum? No problem. Here’s where to go in the Southwest to find art in the most unexpected of places
1. Prada in Marfa, Texas
Built in 2005, the iconic sculpture-cum-storefront 26 miles outside of Marfa continues to draw visitors every year. Created by artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, the piece is a one-room white stucco replica the kind of Prada store you’d find in much larger cities. But in Marfa, the lifeless handbags in the front display aren’t actually for sale — the “store” will never be open for business, and will eventually degrade back into the natural landscape.
2. Sun Tunnels in Lucin, Utah
Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels is made up of four massive concrete tunnels laid out in an open X configuration. On the solstices, the tunnels frame the sun as it passes the horizon at sunrise and sunset, and Holt drilled holes in the top of each tunnel in the shape of different constellations. The holes — and the tunnels themselves — act as frames or lenses through which visitors can take in the surrounding sky and desert.
3. Target in Marathon, Texas
Marfa has its Prada, and now Marathon is home to Target — kind of. The roadside storefront along US 90 first popped up on Instagram in January and has become the newest darling of West Texas’ roadside art scene. So far, the creator is unknown, and there’s a chance it will be dismantled in the future, so the time to get that perfect Instagram snap is now.
4. The Lightning Field in Quemado, New Mexico
In the remote desert of western New Mexico, 400 steel poles stand erect — all the same height, perfectly positioned in a precise grid. While it might look like a science experiment to some, this is, in fact, The Lightning Field, an art installation by the late Walter De Maria. This strangely beautiful Land Art masterpiece spans 4 square miles and is best experienced on an overnight trip (a simple but comfortable cabin can be reserved through the Dia Art Foundation). Watch this industrial structure transform while overlooking the field of steel, listen to coyotes howl under a blanket of stunning starlight and stand by for a rare but possible strike of lightning.