Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Conceptual Art and Other Modern Art Movements

What is The Lightning Field?

The Lightning Field (1977) is an example of an earthwork, or land art, created by American sculpture Walter de Maria in Western New Mexico. Built in the vast desert, de Maria installed four hundred stainless steel poles with pointed tips in a grid-like pattern that reaches one mile by one kilometer in area. Each pole, at around twenty feet tall, is designed to attract lightning, as well as attract visitors. The Lightning Field can also be considered a sculpture or an installation, and it was designed to encourage visitors to walk amongst the poles and engage with the natural environment. This massively scaled example of land art can be visited by contacting the Dia Foundation, which manages the site.


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