Joshua Tree

Sunday continued positively despite the rough trade in Oro Grande, and we headed off to Joshua Tree under very pretty, overcast skies.

First stop: the Integratron. We were invited there by Bonnie & George Kopp, who own the True World Gallery in Joshua Tree. The Kopps met Gretchen and Kate in Bisbee (both ArtCar artists), who told them about our trip. Not only did they arrange with Nancy, The Integratron owner, for us to get a free sound bath, they also fed us lunch. Our reception was grand and the ArtCars were parked around the Integratron dome. The Sound Bath was very relaxing “ lying on our backs looking up at the beautiful ceiling listening to music played on 9 quartz crystal singing bowls. The building itself was evidently designed to be part of a giant, hybrid-tesla-coil machine, which would alter matter in the manner of the Philadelphia Experiment. Its creator, George Van Tassel, did not finish it.

Lunch was great too, and we met some local artists including Bobby Furst, who really dug the aged patina of Daisy Singer and invited us to his studio.

Before that, however, we headed off to the amazing outdoor museum of Noah Purifoy. Seven acres of amazing assemblage, and it looked better than ever as obviously some refurbishing had recently taken place. This art installation is kept up by a foundation (Ed Ruscha is a big supporter).

Noah Purifoy was a great artist who worked on this place into his 90s. The ArtCars met him briefly during our 2003 tour, and he died shortly after that. It’s hard to describe this place, except to say it’s some of the best found-object sculpture on the planet, covers a large space out in the desert, and that you can’t see everything in one visit. Photos really don’t capture it, although it’s hard to take a bad picture here.

After communing with Noah for an hour or so, we meandered over to Bobby Furst’s studio, which is in a idyllic location next to the entrance of the national park. He’s got a ranch house, silver Quonset hut, and an airstream there – all of it chock full of cool found objects and sculpture. Inside his studio, massive beams hold up a loft room, and his bathroom is covered in copper. It’s a palace of Elastic Symbolism.

As if we weren’t already overwhelmed with a full day of visual beauty, the skies formed an amazing backdrop for all the art we saw. Lenticular clouds hung like UFOs all day, and then as the sun set it the sky exploded with color.

We floated off to our campsite in the big rocks, intoxicated with all that we saw.