Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip through the Land Art of the America WestEric Hogan
I stopped at one tourist attraction, Hole n” the Rock, about fifteen miles south of Moab. Though its curious punctuation might suggest that it boasts both a hole and a rock, the site is actually a hole in a rock, excavated by its owner in the 1940s and 1950s. Albert Christensen—painter, sculptor, taxidermist—sandblasted and carved his way into the rock, eventually building a five-thousand-square-foot home for himself, his wife Gladys, her doll collection, and his taxidermy menagerie. It took him twelve years, from 1945 to 1957, to move about fifty thousand cubic feet of sandstone for their cozy lair. The result is an appealing—albeit dark—suite of rooms that stay cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Albert also found the time to carve the smiling face of fdr into the side of their home (visible in the photo, outlined in white beneath the o and c of “rock”).
I found myself captivated by the entire venture. Walking through the dank and faintly musty rooms, I pondered the bemused complicity of a wife living with and in her husband’s grand dreams. I saw that peculiar American insanity that holds that anything goes as long as you don’t hurt anybody. I saw a quiet couple living far from anywhere, slowly building their cave, populating it with dolls and frozen, bucking, wild-eyed donkeys, yet still maintaining a bourgeois domestic front with guest towels and shaped soaps and, next to the seizing donkey, Albert’s dresser.
Request your free e-book.