“Worlds largest junk car forest”
It started with a dream. A vision for a place where artists could come together and create fantastical works of art. That dream became a reality for Reno-based artist, Chad Sorg, who wanted to create a "car forest" at the End of the World. The International Car Forest of the Last Church is the manifestation of that dream. It's a hallowed earthen automobile graveyard, with over 40 graffittied cars, trucks and buses. The installation was the brainchild of collaborators, Sorg and Michael "Mark" Rippie. Rippie owns the 80 acres of land that the art installation was built on, and began the art project back in 2002, with the dream of owning the Guinness Book of World Records title for "most cars planted vertically in the ground." As one does... Just a half mile off-Highway 95, with its endless blue skies and panoramic vistas, the unincorporated historic mining town of Goldfield, NV is truly an artist's paradise. Once boasting a population of over 20,000 people, Goldfield now has only 200 people living within it. As Sorg states: "It’s the perfect town for an art retreat. There’s nothing much around to distract you from your work. Also the town features a centrality between Reno and Vegas and not much else!" Inspired by such "outsider" works of art as Thunder Mountain Monument, Salvation Mountain and Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historical Park, Sorg was entranced by the "just do it" attitude of these folk art impresarios: "They don’t work to get a degree or an artist rep and they don’t bother to research art history. They simply make weird art obsessively and generally don’t give a damn." Sorg loves Goldfield so much (he was recently President of the Chamber of Commerce, which is considered tantamount to a mayor), and he even wants to be buried there. He believes in the car graveyard as a place of creation and inspiration that he sees it as a key destination for desert pilgrimages "that weird art people of the future might love to make." As President of the Chamber of Commerce, Sorg organized an event to take place during the annual "Goldfield Days" celebration. It was going to be Burning Man, minus the peyote. Dubbed "The End of the World Party", it was concocted to introduce the world to the car forest, "a field of several dozen upright cars, buried nose-first in the desert dirt." Think Henry's Rabbit Ranch meets Cadillac Ranch. During the party a bus was set on fire. The "End of the World" party was supposed to be a big success for Goldfield. Sorg's crowning achievement to bring publicity and exposure to the cute, historic town. It wasn't. Unfortunately, Sorg and Rippie had a falling out, and no longer work together. Rippie is in jail on gun charges and Sorg is allegedly working on a motel in Reno. As Sorg says: "Nothin' a bus stickin' out of the ground can't fix."
We stopped on our way through Goldfield with our three young boys and they loved it! It was a fun stop and a great place to stretch our legs. There was a lot of broken glass; which, with young kids, is a hazard to be aware of. The bus against the hillside wasn't family-friendly either. The couch outside the bus and the artwork on the side should've been a warning, but those were not visible from the rest of the junkyard. Luckily, our kids were young enough we didn't have to offer any awkward explanations.
Hard to find. Directions are wrong, so you'll have to stop and ask the locals, but cool spot to visit and stretch!
Fun and funky spot to stretch
This was a very cool stop on our roadtrip. A little hard to find but worth the stop.
There are over 40 graffittied cars, trucks and buses at this amazing roadside art installation. It's just a 10-minute walk from Goldfield, NV, a historic mining town.
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- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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