Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field

Western New Mexico

Overview

The Lightning Field (1977), by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico. It is comprised of 400 polished stainless steel poles installed in a grid array measuring one mile by one kilometer. The poles -- two inches in diameter and averaging 20 feet and 7½ inches in height -- are spaced 220 feet apart and have solid pointed tips that define a horizontal plane. A sculpture to be walked in as well as viewed, The Lightning Field is intended to be experienced over an extended period of time. A full experience of The Lightning Field does not depend upon the occurrence of lightning, and visitors are encouraged to spend as much time as possible in the field, especially during sunset and sunrise. In order to provide this opportunity, Dia offers overnight visits during the months of May through October.

Commissioned and maintained by Dia Art Foundation, The Lightning Field is recognized internationally as one of the late-twentieth century's most significant works of art and exemplifies Dia's commitment to the support of art projects whose nature and scale exceed the limits normally available within the traditional museum or gallery.

Dia Art Foundation also maintains three other Walter De Maria projects: The Broken Kilometer (1979) and The New York Earth Room (1977), both in New York City, as well as The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany.

Art: The Lightning Field, 1977

Visitor Information

Following the closure of the 2020 visiting season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) will resume limited operations in May–October 2021. To ensure the safety of our guests and staff, we are limiting guest visits to one household group in the cabin per night and instituting a 24-hour period between visits to allow for a full cleaning and airing out of the guest cabin.

If you were booked to visit The Lightning Field in 2020 and have not yet contacted reservations@lightningfield.org to express your interest, please do so as soon as possible. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 visiting season, Dia will be rebooking guests in 2021. As a result, we are not currently accepting new reservations for the 2021 visiting season. 

We hope to resume a full visiting season in 2022. Booking for the 2022 visiting season will open on February 1, 2022. Please check back here for updates or email reservations@lightningfield.org for more information.

 

 

A cabin adjacent to The Lightning Field provides shelter and simple meals during your stay. It has three bedrooms (one with a double bed and two with twin beds), two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a common room. Linens are provided. We do not reserve specific bedrooms. 

We ask that you let us know if you are planning to bring young children and refrain from bringing electronic devices or anything that may disturb other visitors. No more than six visitors per night can be accommodated. Camping is not permitted. Pets are not allowed. 

A simple supper is prepared and left for you in the refrigerator and a selection of breakfast items are provided for you to prepare the next morning. If you have any special dietary requirements please plan to bring supplemental food or beverages of your own.

For visitor and staff safety, during the 2021 visiting season we are limiting guest visits to one household group in the cabin per night and instituting a 24-hour period between visits to allow for a full cleaning and airing out of the guest cabin.

Dia provides transportation to The Lightning Field from Quemado, New Mexico, which is about a 2.5–3 hour drive from Albuquerque. Please arrange to arrive in Quemado no later than 2 pm on the day of your visit and check in at Dia's office in the white two-story building on the north side of the town's main street. It is a 45-minute drive in our vehicle from Quemado to The Lightning Field; you may not take your own vehicle. You will be returned to Quemado at approximately noon the following day. 

It is important to arrange your travel plans to meet this schedule as unscheduled trips cannot be accommodated. If you will be arriving from Arizona, please note that New Mexico time is one hour later than Arizona during the summer months. 

To reach Quemado from the Albuquerque airport, take I-25 North to I-40 West and drive approximately 70 miles to Exit 89. Take Rte. 117 South and follow the signs to Quemado (approximately 78 miles). There is no public transportation available between Albuquerque and Quemado.

Please note that a face covering is required at all times when interacting with Dia’s staff. Dia reserves the right to cancel a reservation for any visitor who does not follow this or other requirements.

Located in the high desert at an elevation of 7200 feet, The Lightning Field is situated on a flat plain. Mornings and evenings can be cold; days are usually not warmer than 85 degrees. Rainstorms can cause the ground to be very muddy but in general, the terrain is flat and good for walking. Bring at least one pair of sturdy walking shoes or boots, sunglasses, a sun hat, warm clothing, insect repellant, and a raincoat or windbreaker.

Although lightning storms typically occur in this area from mid-July through August, and may also occur at other times during the visiting season, the probability of lightning during your visit cannot be predicted.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 visiting season, Dia will be rebooking guests in 2021. As a result, we are not currently accepting new reservations for the 2021 visiting season. New reservation requests for the 2022 visiting season will be received and reviewed as of February 1, 2022, at 12 am Mountain Standard Time (MST) at reservations@lightningfield.org. Requests received earlier than 12 am MST will be automatically rejected. Phone requests are not accepted.

Requests should include the number in the party, a preferred date, and several alternate dates or a date range, as it is possible that a preferred date will already be taken depending on where the initial request falls within the reservation queue. We do not have any way to determine which email of the hundreds sent at 12 am will end up at the top of the queue or further down. 

Our visiting season runs from May 1 to October 31. In 2021, we will be accommodating guests every other day, allowing for a 24-hour cleaning period. The cabin accommodates up to six guests (three bedrooms and two baths). Visitors may request one to six spots for their reservation. Reservations are limited to one night per party. Day visits are not permitted.

For visitor and staff safety, during the 2021 visiting season we are limiting guest visits to one household group in the cabin per night.

Once a date has been secured through our correspondence, we will send a reservation/payment link, which must be completed within five days in order to confirm the hold. Reservations are nonrefundable, unless we are able to rebook the reserved spots.

If you had a confirmed booking for the cancelled 2020 season and have not yet been in touch with us via reservations@lightningfield.org, please contact us as soon as possible at this address to express your interest in rebooking a visit. Please contact reservations@lightningfield.org if you have any questions.

May and June: $600 (flat fee for a group of 1–4), additional $150/night per additional person (up to a maximum of 6)July and August: $1000 (flat fee for a group of 1–4), additional $250/night per additional person (up to a maximum of 6 people total)
September and October: $600 (flat fee for a group of 1–4), additional $150/night per additional person (up to a maximum of 6)
Students and children (all months): $400 (flat fee for a group of 1–4), additional $100/night per additional person (up to a maximum of 6; please enclose a copy of student IDs for those guests) 

For our guests’ safety, only one family, household unit, or established COVID-19 “pod” will be able to visit The Lightning Field at a time during the 2021 period of limited operations. 

Because only a single group will be staying in the guest cabin during 2021 visits, visitor fees will increase to $600 in low season and $1000 in high season. This is a flat fee covering a group of 1 to 4. Groups of 5 or 6 will be charged for each additional person at a rate of $150/night in low season and $250/night in high season. Low season is May, June, September, and October. High season is July and August. This temporary increase helps us to continue to offer this unique experience while operations are limited in 2021. 

The actual cost of maintaining The Lightning Field and accommodating visits greatly exceeds visitor fees. Contributions toward the operating expenses of The Lightning Field are appreciated, and donations beyond the listed rates are tax-deductible. 

Once you have secured a date, you will receive an email with instructions for payment and confirmation. 

Your reservation is confirmed only upon our receipt of your reservation form and payment in full within 5 days of receiving your hold email. We cannot accept payment upon your arrival in Quemado. If after you have submitted payment you need to cancel a booking, please do so as soon as possible. We can refund you for your cancelled visit only if we are able to re-book your visit date for another guest/s, regardless of the reason for the cancellation.

For our guests’ safety, only one family, household unit, or established COVID-19 “pod” will be able to visit The Lightning Field at a time during the 2021 period of limited operations.

We have instituted a 24-hour period between visits to allow for a full cleaning and airing out of the guest cabin.

Please note that a face covering is required at all times when interacting with Dia’s staff. Dia reserves the right to cancel a reservation for any visitor who does not follow this or other requirements.

All visitors must comply with state, local, and federal COVID-19 regulations current at their time of travel. Please be advised that many states have instituted travel restrictions. If you are traveling to The Lightning Field from outside of New Mexico, we recommend that you check current New Mexico travel restrictions prior to traveling. If a quarantine period is required, all out of state guests will be required to certify upon their arrival in Quemado that they have complied with the requirement. Any costs incurred in connection with a government required quarantine or other rules or regulations will be the visitors’ responsibility.

All 2021 visitors must complete a COVID-19 symptom form within three days of the planned visit date. If you or a member of your party develops COVID-19 symptoms or has a known COVID-19 exposure within 14 days before your planned visit, you may not visit The Lightning Field, and we cannot guarantee that the cost of your stay will be refunded. A refund will only be provided in the case that your visit date can be re-booked.

The Lightning Field operations may be paused on short notice due to changes in regulations from state, local, or federal governments; in the case of a known COVID-19 exposure or case among staff or visitors; or in the case of a change of the course or risk of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case that Dia pauses operations, the cost of your stay will be refunded to you, but no additional refund for cost of travel or other losses incurred will be provided.

The Lightning Field is located in a very remote part of western New Mexico. Health care facilities are not available locally, with the nearest hospitals located about a 2-hour journey from the cabin location. There is no Wi-Fi or internet service at the cabin, and cellular service is extremely limited and spotty.

In keeping with the artist's wishes, photography of The Lightning Field and the cabin is prohibited. The Lightning Field is protected by copyright. 

Images for educational use, may be requested by contacting rights and reproductions department at rights@diaart.org. Images of The Lightning Field may be published with written consent from Dia Art Foundation.

For inquiries about existing reservations, please contact The Lightning Field office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by writing to reservations@lightningfield.org.

Please direct all other inquiries regarding The Lightning Field to the following:

E-mail: info@lightningfield.org

Telephone: 505 898 3335

Post: P.O. Box 7416, Albuquerque, NM 87194

Artist

Walter De Maria

Walter De Maria was born in Albany, California, in 1935. He died in Los Angeles in 2013.

View profile

Support The Lightning Field

The Lightning Field (1977), by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico. Commissioned and maintained by Dia Art Foundation, The Lightning Field is recognized internationally as one of the late-twentieth century's most significant works of art and exemplifies Dia's commitment to the support of art projects whose nature and scale exceed the limits normally available within the traditional museum or gallery.

The cost of maintaining The Lightning Field and accommodating visits greatly exceeds visitor fees. Contributions toward the operating expenses of The Lightning Field are appreciated, and are fully tax-deductible.

Support The Lightning Field

Books

<p>Photo: Don Stahl</p>

Photo: Don Stahl

Walter De Maria: The Lightning Field

Edited by Stephen Hoban, Alexis Lowry, and Jessica Morgan. Contributions by John Cliett, Walter De Maria, Robert Fosdick, and Jessica Morgan

View details

The Lightning Field Postcard Set

View details

Get Dia News

Receive Dia News and be the first to hear about events and exhibitions happening at our locations and sites.