Walter de Maria, Lightning Field, 1977
de Maria’s Lightning Field stands in a 1 mile by 1 kilometer grid in Catron County, New Mexico. 400 stainless steel rods with pointed tips stand in a perfectly symmetrical pattern. The tops of the poles are in exact alignment with each other, creating a flat plane. Each pole was cut specifically for the particular spot it would stand for this alignment to work.
Accessible to only six people per day for six months out of the year, photography is not allowed contributing to a secrecy surrounding the piece. Visitors stay in a log cabin overnight to view the work. This contributes to the juxtaposition of the wild west feel against the sharp futurism of the grid of rods.
This piece of land was chosen by de Maria for the frequency of its electrical storms. However, even without a lightning storm present the perfect symmetry and alignment of the poles showcase minimalism at its finest. The stark shadows and hard lines contrast perfectly with the contoured countryside and often stormy skies against which they are set.