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  • Paige Sun

Art Installations Worth To See from Los Angeles

A mixture of adobe clay, straw and paint, Leonard Knight’s “mountain” is covered with a collage of colorful murals, including a large “God is Love” wedged between a cross and a heart. Aside from the religious tones, the 50-foot-tall, 150-foot-wide mural on the southeast side of the Salton Sea also includes paintings of flowers, trees, waterfalls and birds.

Look for the “art queen” sign on the edge of town in Joshua Tree, and let yourself in through the gate. In the back of a dusty courtyard, you’ll find this lime-green former Fotomat booth, which is no wider than a closet and is filled from floor to ceiling with Shari Elf’s collection of crocheted creations.

The late Elmer Long inherited a collection of colorful glass bottles in 2000. So what else was he supposed to do with them than create a forest of bottle trees, naturally? By the time he passed away in 2019, Long’s continued recycling had pushed the installation past 200 bottle trees.

The three-hour-plus evening drive back may stretch the boundaries of a single-day trip, but a boring drive up and down the 5 is a small price to pay for this illuminated hillside walkthrough from artist Bruce Munro. The ticketed installation (its current iteration has evening reservations through the summer of 2022) includes the 15-acre Field of Light, a flowery blanket of 58,800 fiber-optic spheres, and Light Towers, 69 towers of glowing wine bottles.


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