May 27, 2024

Three hours due west – then south – of Albuquerque is the town of Quemado, home to the Dia Art Foundation‘s field office for The Lightning Field. It’s where you deposit your car and wait to be ferried another hour further into the desert by the caretaker. There is not much to the town; in quick succession there’s a magistrate’s building, el Serape diner, a gas station, the Largo Motel and an ATM. (This is why you make a point of stopping at the liquor store in Grants.) If you make it to the end of the road – and one assumes, the town limits as well – you’ll learn that Quemado is the Spanish word for burned. You’d be forgiven for doing a double-take and reading the word as burnt, however, because Quemado appears more than just dry – it looks scorched.

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