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Get to Know the Wild Art and Soul of Joshua Tree With These Must-See Art Installations

Written By: Jordan Nishkian
Photographed By: Deanna Nguyen and Jordan Nishkian Joshua Tree Art Installations

Joshua Tree, home to Joshua Tree National Park, can be described as a quiet, dirt-road town that’s perfect for bouldering, stargazing and getting in touch with nature. But what you may not know is that it’s also home to some truly wild art installations. Ready to be wowed? These creative spots are full of everything from trash-to-treasure sculptures to cute and cuddly crocheted curios.

Wander Through the Weird and Wonderful

Noah Purifoy Foundation Outdoor Museum (AKA Noah’s Art)

As out there as it is, Noah’s Art holds a special place in many travelers’ hearts. There’s something so evocative about the sheer randomness of all the installations here. Located in a remote area almost 15 minutes or so from the main road, you most likely won’t see this outdoor museum until you roll up next to it. From there, get ready to be wowed and drawn in by this expansive lot of art installations built from discarded items. There’s really something for everyone here: a theater for the spotlight-seeker, Grecian-esque “ruins” for the archaeologist and even some dark and mysterious rooms for the horror fan. Here are a few must-see pieces for your next exploration:

 

Adrian’s Little Theater is a must. Go inside, step onstage and do yourself a favor and show off your performing skills. Sure, it won’t be “Twelfth Night” at Shakespeare’s Globe, but doing your best jeté or challenging your adventure buddy to a quick rap battle is a great way to let loose.

An air hangar-looking structure has always held some mystery. The chain and padlocked door only add fuel to the fire of many visitors’ burning questions, but you have to wonder if that was part of Purifoy’s intentions all along.

An all-time favorite, these “ruins” could make any Greco-Roman history buff grin from ear to ear, from its textured interior to its center hearth. Pay attention to the details engraved on the walls: they’re telling you a story.

This single wall topped with some topsy-turvy bicycles offers a window to the other side of this creation—a stunning view of vast desert. A little bit mind-boggling with a lot of whimsy, this installation makes you wonder what Purifoy imagined to be happening on the other side of that wall.

Joshua Tree Art Installations

It’d Be a Mistake Knot to Go Joshua Tree Art Installations

The World-Famous Crochet Museum

Head into Joshua Tree and pull up to a small plaza of shops. Through the gates, you’ll find a towering installation with what can only be described as spinning “disco boulders” and a handful of curio art installations, shops and galleries. The most curious of them all, though, is the World-Famous Crochet Museum, which lives inside a bright-green one-hour photo booth (bet you forgot about those things, huh?).

On a sunnier day, you could probably enjoy more of a disco ball effect from this installation’s rotating, mirror-plated objects, but the desert skies occasionally offer more of a subtle sparkle.

It may be small, but the bright green paint of the bygone photo booth makes it unmistakable. A side view of the World-Famous Crochet Museum is only a small preview of what’s in store once you enter:

Whether you’re a crafter, a crocheter or just plain curious, the World-Famous Crochet Museum is a must-see. Shari Elf, the museum’s founder, doesn’t crochet herself, so all of these items have been crocheted and donated by others. Remember, take as many pictures as you want, but don’t touch—a lot of work went in to making this museum!

Noah Purifoy Foundation Outdoor Museum (AKA Noah’s Art)
62975 Blair Ln
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

The World-Famous Crochet Museum
61855 Hwy 62
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
760.352.7474