Memorial for Queer Rhyolite, a temporary monument to dreams in the dust
Memorial for Queer Rhyolite, a temporary monument to dreams in the dust is a public piece installed for the inaugural Bullfrog Biennial at the Goldwell Open Air Museum in October 2019. A small group of LGBTQ people in the 1980s came here to establish “Stonewall Park,” a city where queer people could live safely and peacefully during a time of rampant homophobia in the US. They tried to purchase the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV, an abandoned mining town in ruins between Death Valley and the Nevada Test Site. They suffered violent protest from the surrounding area, and unable to raise critical funding, they abandoned their dreams. This column of desert sand and displaced mine tailings will eventually crumble, burying a tiny monument that lies inside: “here lie dreams of Stonewall Park, a safe and peaceful place.” I discovered the story of Stonewall Park as my partner and I wandered the desert, also seeking a new home. I felt compelled to memorialize their effort and continue their story, knowing in my heart they didn’t fail.