Secret Solstice Structure in the Southwest?
April 18, 2020 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I recall reading about a sculptor or artist of some sort that was building or had built a massive stairway or ramp through or on sandstone geology in the American Southwest. The passage was designed to line up with the rising or setting solstice sun. The location was secret to prevent over-visiting and erosion, but was available for ceremonial use.

Starting the clock now, let’s see what you’ve got folks!
posted by stinkfoot to Religion & Philosophy (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking of James Turrell's Roden Crater project? (though obviously not secret)
posted by baseballpajamas at 9:26 AM on April 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe a Michael Heizer work like Double Negative? Far as I can tell it does not really have much to do with the solstice, though more recent works of his might. There is a listing of some prominent land art on this page that might lead you to more resources . Lots of this type of art to explore in the western US if that is where you are.
posted by Eriogonum at 9:52 AM on April 18, 2020

Not a contemporary artist but does have a ramp and the solstice: are you thinking of Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon?
posted by PMdixon at 9:59 AM on April 18, 2020

Doesn't exactly answer the question but if you can't figure it out, the great Paul Koudanaris, @hexenkult on Instagram, specializes in knowing secret and out of the way places and is familiar with the southwest. He would very likely be able to answer the question.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Michael Heizer's also been working on "The City" in Nevada for decades, and apparently finished not too long ago.
posted by LionIndex at 10:50 AM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think I recall the exact thing you're talking about, but I can't find it for the life of me.

So, I'm mainly saying that I remember it also -- and further, my memory is of a brief recorded video, with the artist standing on part of the structure talking about how it lines up with astronomical features.
posted by aramaic at 10:52 AM on April 18, 2020

Something by Nancy Holt, who was just mentioned in the Blue as wife of Robert Smithson?
posted by notsnot at 11:04 AM on April 18, 2020

This is interesting stuff, would be a good front page post.
posted by theora55 at 1:40 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Almost certainly not what you're looking for but possibly of interest to people reading this ask.

Opus 40 is a monumental sculpture that does host equinox events, though as far as I know it has no special features specific to them. But is really cool.
posted by Candleman at 1:43 PM on April 18, 2020

You might be thinking of the Long Now Clock.
posted by so fucking future at 3:44 PM on April 18, 2020

Georgia Guidestones?
posted by Jacen at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2020

Best answer: So, after reviewing the various links, I'm pretty sure the thing *I* was thinking of is Star Axis, from the link Eriogonum supplied above:'s not yet open to the public, but these sorts of things are pretty much always semi-open to The Select Few.

Anyway, maybe check out Star Axis? I saw it in a documentary which also mentioned another art project involving fantastically detailed cave carvings, which the creator was keeping secret until their completion.
posted by aramaic at 6:28 PM on April 18, 2020

Response by poster: S T A R A X I S

that's it! thanks y'all
posted by stinkfoot at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2020

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