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‘It just needs to stop’: Workers frustrated with graffiti at Seven Magic Mountains

Updated August 15, 2022 - 9:20 am

The popular Seven Magic Mountains art installation in the desert south of Las Vegas keeps getting marred by graffiti, and John Henderson and his team keep cleaning it up.

“Why destroy beautiful land art?” said Henderson, a senior superintendent with Vergith Contracting. “It just needs to stop.”

Since Aug. 1, Henderson and his team of three other workers have been removing the graffiti — which consists mainly of small tags and scrawled names — and repainting artist Ugo Rondinone’s colorful towers of sun-faded boulders to bring them back to their fluorescent glory.

They’ve also been applying a graffiti-repelling clear coat to thwart would-be vandals, and expect to be done the restoration work by Wednesday.

But the graffiti keeps coming.

“All the graffiti is gone, but will it come back Monday after the weekend?” Henderson asked. “We don’t know.”

Since its installation in 2016, the land art piece by the Swiss-born, New York-based Rondinone has become a popular destination for visitors to marvel at the seven totems made from 33 huge boulders, each weighing 10 to 25 tons. The towers are each over 30 feet high.

In the age of Instagram, the site has also become a much-loved photo backdrop.

Unfortunately, vandals have also regularly been showing up at the art installation and violating the unwritten graffiti code by writing over another artist’s work.

“Everybody is frustrated with this,” Henderson said.

Seven Magic Mountains is in the desert off Las Vegas Boulevard South, about 10 miles south of the boulevard’s intersection with St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, near the Jean Dry Lake.

The installation was originally meant to have a two-year lifespan, but its popularity has led to the artist, and the Nevada Museum of Art and the Art Production Fund, to explore a way to keep the piece “on view for several years into the future,” says the sevenmagicmountains.com website.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com or 561-324-6421. Follow @BrettClarkson_ on Twitter.

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