We woke early, with the dull headache that only an evening prior full of tall boy cans of beer, cheap red wine, and one too many American ciggies can deliver. Smiles dawned our faces and giggles escaped our lips as we realized we were waking up in a vintage airstream trailer in the middle of the Joshua Tree desert in a themed trailer park. We pulled our fragile limbs out of bed and to the communal jukebox and plugged in a song. As the sun began to kiss the sky we pulled out onto a sandy desert road with the top down.
As per a local tip, we headed to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum. “Hit it in the morning or in the evening, you will cook out there any other time of day”. Let me tell ya, these tender eggs cooked in the early morning sun too. The outdoor museum was incredibly interesting. Eclectic art installation one after another nestled behind seemingly abandoned dirt roads heading to nowhere. It was never ending and beautiful. Pieces of quite literally anything… toilets, scrap metal, tires, TV’s, kegs, toys, keyboards, bikes, wood, clothing, wire, bottles… are placed both thoughtfully and perhaps with little thought at all in creative and bewildering ways to create this deserted field of incredible sculptures.
We wandered between the art installations in silence, often losing sight of each other and only able to find the other when standing completely still and listening for the soft crunch of a leather sole slapping against weathered sand. We both came to a halt at the same time in front of one of the bigger of the art installations: a big round-roofed tin barn with the wildest metal sliding doors you ever will see. The door was slightly open and we took a bold peak inside. Luck was with us. There was a whole art gallery inside this building, unbeknownst to the outside world. We were invited in by one of the foundations members and had the chance to amble through this magnificent tiny indoor museum within the outdoor museum. The treasures are bountiful within those closed metal doors and it was incredibly neat to see the theme of Noah Purifoy’s sculptures reduced to smaller installations and art pieces. We were so grateful to have happened upon the museum at precisely the right moment to let us view not only the vast beauty of the the outdoor sculptures, but also the secret gems within.
As a side note... not much snaps you back into reality and out of an alcohol induced haze quite like staring into the eyes of a dressed up taxidermied deer in a secret tin art gallery nestled in the sandy roads of the Joshua Tree desert.
Where: Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum | Joshua Tree, California | USA
With: Nikon F100 | Kodak 400 film