84°F
weather icon Clear

Monumental Makeover

Artist Ugo Rondinone’s fluorescent totems — known as Seven Magic Mountains — have drawn throngs of visitors since they were installed off Interstate 15 south of Sloan in 2016. The unforgiving desert climate muted their shine, but a three-week restoration and several coats of paint have restored the magic.
Photos by L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Ivan Ibarra with Vergith Contracting Co. prepares the Seven Magic Mountains for new paint by pressure washing the towers on May 29. Created in 2016 by the Swiss-born New York mixed media artist Ugo Rondinone, and produced by the Nevada Museum of Art in collaboration with Art Production Fund, the installation consists of 33 boulders, each weighing 10-25 tons, stacked into seven towers.
Jose Cervantes with Vergith Contracting Co. evenly sprays a white finish on one of the rocks during the three-week renovation, which took approximately 300 hours to complete.
Ivan Ibarra pressure washes a tower after a week of high winds and other safety concerns delayed renovation efforts.
Some graffiti has to be removed with power tools, as John Henderson of Vergith Contracting Co. is seen doing here. After cleaning, a coat of white primer is applied.
The artist’s paint samples show exact color specifications for matching from various angles.
Amanda Horn of the Nevada Museum of Art inspects the progress with representatives from Studio Rondinone, Vergith Contracting Co. and Las Vegas Paving.
The stones came from a quarry, were cut with a diamond saw and drilled down the center to mount safely in place.
A train rolls by the Seven Magic Mountains on June 4. The installation is the largest land art project completed in the world in over 40 years, according to Amanda Horn.
Ivan Ibarra applies primer on June 4. The towers stand 30-35 feet tall.
John Henderson masks off rocks to prevent overspray on June 14. Each limestone rock received between 10-13 coats of the same kind of paint used on cars.
A tower is reflected in a bucket of pink paint on June 14. The Seven Magic Mountains are meant to evoke contrast and continuity from nature to culture, hence their bright colors.
John Henderson is silhouetted as Ivan Ibarra sprays orange finish on a rock on June 17. The palette is meant to be a stark contrast to its surroundings.
Visitors pose for a photo atop barricades on June 14. More than 321,000 people visited the site last year. More than 1 million have visited since its debut in 2016.
John Henderson mixes a batch of orange finish on June 17. The bright colors are typical of a Rondinone sculpture.
John Henderson sprays a final clear protective coating on the rocks June 18. The art installation is located off Las Vegas Boulevard South near the Jean Dry Lake bed.
Visitors explore the newly restored Seven Magic Mountains art installation on June 18.
Rocks stacked by visitors mimic the Seven Magic Mountains near the newly renovated art installation on June 18. Ugo Rondinone first created massive stone figures in 2013.
John Henderson works during sunrise on the final day of restoration on June 18. Ugo Rondinone says, “They look almost like people, just giant, nice people.”
Light reflects off the newly restored Seven Magic Mountains on June 18. Ugo Rondinone merged land art and pop art elements to create a piece uniting desert and city life.
Lights illuminate the newly restored Seven Magic Mountains on June 19. Due to the installation's immense popularity, the Nevada Museum of Art is now considering keeping the work there permanently.
Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
'America's Got Talent' judge Simon Cowell has back surgery after electric bike accident - Video
Simon Cowell underwent surgery on Saturday to repair a broken back and was recovering at a hospital. He will miss the opening shows of "America's Got Talent," which begin this week. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RV of Las Vegas entertainers missing from their home - Video
RJ entertainment columnist John Katsilometes talks to longtime Las Vegas entertainers Joe and Jessica Trammel, who discovered Wednesday afternoon that their RV, trailer and belongings had been stolen. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Television shows could fuel Las Vegas tourism rebound - VIDEO
CBS reality dating competition series “Love Island" and ABC’s “Shark Tank” are set to film upcoming seasons in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garth Brooks reschedules concert at Allegiant Stadium - Video
The country superstar made the announcement Wednesday morning that he has moved his Aug. 22 date at the stadium back to Feb. 27.
Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ memoriam
Vegas broadcaster Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ dies at 54. He was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2018. (Greg “Gonzo” Spillane/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Naya Rivera confirmed dead after body is found - Video
Naya Rivera, the "Glee" star, went missing during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in California last week. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Actress Kelly Preston dies at 57 - Video
Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta, had been privately battling breast cancer for two years. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas bar workers frustrated, angry as restrictions return - VIDEO
In Southern Highlands, the Italian restaurant Spaghetty Western, while remaining open, had to shut down its bar. Bartender Scarlett Brock, who is still waiting to receive unemployment payments from the initial shutdown, calls the financial impact of being out of work again “a knock in the face.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'In the Dark' at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum - Video
Laurie Thomas, controller for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, discusses the new exhibit, "In the Dark," in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 9, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Summertime Dole Whip Cocktails
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian has two new Dole Whip cocktails. The Golden Tiki, which offers a line of Dole Whip cocktails, is reopening Wednesday.
Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'Hamilton' criticism is 'fair game'
Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to people claiming he presented an idealized version of the Founding Fathers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Charlie Daniels, 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' singer, dead at 83 - Video
Charlie Daniels, the country music star, was struck by a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tennessee. His death was confirmed on Monday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jennifer Romas takes her 'Sexxy The Show' to Dreamland Drive-In - Video
Jennifer Romas, producer, director, choreographer and star “Sexxy The Show" at Westgate took her show to Dreamland Drive-In at FreshWata Studios in Las Vegas. The show, which is currently dark at the Westgate, is a benefit for charities Golden Rainbow of Southern Nevada, The Actors Fund and Pawtastic Friends. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wynn Las Vegas’ ‘re-imagined’ buffet - VIDEO
On June 18, The Buffet at Wynn reopened to customers with what the resort called “a re-imagined all-you-can-eat concept that combines the abundance of the traditional buffet with the benefits of a full-service restaurant.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jimmy Kimmel issues public apology for past blackface sketches - Video
On Tuesday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took to Twitter to apologize for his blackface impression of NBA star Karl Malone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitar sold for record-breaking $6M - Video
The 1959 Martin D-18E, which was often out of tune, was expected to fetch between $1million and $2 million. The iconic guitar was sold during the online 'Music Icons' sale hosted by Julien's Auctions over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joel Schumacher, director of 'Lost Boys' and Batman films, dead at 80 - Video
Schumacher died in New York City after battling cancer for a year. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'We are not a monolith' - Video
Lance Smith, a multidisciplinary artist, talks about how black artists should be acknowledged for their work and not tokenized or only have their work connected to trauma. "Blackness, we are not a monolith, we deserve to live and create in a world that respects us as we are." (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amid protests and pandemic, black artists view works as means to empathy, healing - Video
Erica Vital-Lazare is an artist, writer, sometimes activist and professor at the College of Southern Nevada. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
PodKats! with Ross Mollison
On this edition of PodKats! Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes is joined by the founder of Spiegelworld and producer of Las Vegas Strip shows such as "Absinthe," and "Opium," Ross Mollison.
Paramount pulls 'Cops' series in wake of protests - Video
Paramount Network recently confirmed their decision to cancel the long-running reality show, "Cops." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Restaurants add COVID-19 surcharge - Video
Some Las Vegas Strip restaurants are adding a COVID-19 surcharge to their bills to help offset the additional costs of reopening. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kats hangs at Mayfair Supper Club as Bellagio reopens
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes visits The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas on the first night after reopening Thursday, June 4, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas performers adapt to pandemic restrictions - Video
The coronavirus pandemic has forced creative people in Las Vegas, a city that thrives on live performance, to adapt to new or changed ways to entertain. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas woman brings Blue Angel to life - Video
When Las Vegas shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria Hogan created the Blue Angel costume and performance, emulating the statue locals know and love in order to connect with others in a time when connection isn’t as possible. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‘Hamilton’ postponed as Smith Center remains dark indefinitely - VIDEO
The hit musical 'Hamilton' was supposed to run from September through October at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Strip with Kats
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife Gilligan Stillwater GIbbons and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Las Vegas Strip with Kats - Video
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife, Gilligan Stillwater Gibbons, and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ex-WWE star Shad Gaspard found dead on beach - Video
Shad Gaspard, 39, the former WWE wrestler, was found dead Wednesday morning on the shoreline of Venice Beach in California. Gaspard went missing over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffets won’t reopen soon, but they may return eventually - VIDEO
In a Tuesday earnings call, Frank Fertitta III, CEO of Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts, said buffets won’t be among the amenities included in the early stages of the resorts’ reopenings. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST