Pie Town


If science has found a mixed reception in the Catron County hinterland, art occupies a similar and perhaps more uncertain status. In the outback, a score and some miles north of Pie Town, a forest of four hundred shining stainless-steel rods rise perpendicular to the broad sweep of the turquoise sky; the needle-pointed poles, two inches in diameter, average twenty feet in height and stake out nearly a square mile of rattlesnake-infested brushland. Lightning Field is the title of the artwork. Walter de Maria of New York is the sculptor who conceived it. And the Dia Art Foundation is the sponsoring body that put up $450,000 to give it substance in the summer of 1978, when twenty-five teen-agers worked four and one-half months to erect what has been called both bold and bizarre, a metaphysical work of art by New York cognoscenti , the work of a bunch of kooks by at least one local cowpoke.

Other old-timers, probably at least a simple majority, just smile with typical Pie Town tolerance that allows a government or an individual to make a damn fool of itself or himself, if that’s what’s wanted.