70-year-old shack is turned into a mirrored artwork

The Lucid Stead in Joshua Tree is about "light and shadow, reflected light, projected light and change"
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The Lucid Stead by Phillip K Smith III. Photograph by Steve King
The Lucid Stead by Phillip K Smith III. Photograph by Steve King

Our new title, Art & Place, surveys the best site-specific art in the Americas. The book covers many works, including the delapidated, recycled sculptures of The Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum.  These delapidated looking works, built from scavenged materials by the artist Noah Purifoy, were shaped as much by the environment as by the artist himself.

"The intense sunlight and high heat in the summer and cold in the winter wear away at the sculptures while adding a patina," the book says. "Despite the secluded location, this harsh environment does not suggest escapism or isolation, but rather the potential freedom in self-expression."

 

The Lucid Stead by Phillip K Smith III. Photograph by Steve King
The Lucid Stead by Phillip K Smith III. Photograph by Steve King

Although the Lucid Stead (pictured) was only unveiled last month, you could say the same about this piece. The work, which is also in Joshua Tree, was built by the California-based artist, Phillip K Smith III, around a tattered homestead, or simple shack, that has stood on Smith's land for the past 70 years. The artist, who includes the Bauhaus, minimalism and the West Coast's Light and Space among his influences, added mirrors, LED lighting, as well as custom-built electronic equipment, making the building reflect the big skies by day, and light up the desert by night.

Indeed, as night falls the Lucid Stead's door and windows are illuminated, with a slowly changing fields of colour. Though a simple, remote work, it has attracted an enormous amount of coverage since its unveiling on 12 Oct.

 



Despite, or perhaps because of this flurry of attention, Smith says his work is really about tranquility. "When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you," he explains. "It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change."

Sounds like its worth a visit. Find out more about it here. Learn more about other US cite-specific works in our new book, Art & Place, and further light-up works in our Art and Electronic Media book. Buy them, from the people who made them, here.


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