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40-Foot Sculpture Reflects New Mexico Stars

Otto Rigan's 11,000 pound, 40-foot-tall steel sculpture greets visitors of Spaceport America.

by Becky Chung
26 March 2015, 8:00pm

Photo: DJ Cordero

An 11,000 pound, 40-foot-tall steel sculpture by Otto Rigan arcs towards the sky at the entrance of Spaceport America in New Mexico. This newly installed work, Genesis, is embedded with glass pieces that sparkle at different times in the day or night. “I took a section of the night sky star chart, simplified it and turned that into a pattern that could be inlaid on the inside of the sculpture,” explains Rigan to the Albuquerque Journal.

In 2012, the Spaceport made a call-out for artists, and decided to award the $200,000 funding to Rigan out of 222 applicants. While designing the sculpture, he had to make sure his work didn’t block the view from any part of the roundabout and kept the road clear for the rocket fuselage to drive through. “In the end, I made an arc, which to me is something that looks like it’s reaching up,” he says. The last piece was finally put in place this week. As magnificent as the work is, its steep price tag is not sitting well with a number of the residents. “Good for Sculptor Otto Rigan,” says commenter Chris Ward on the article. “Too bad there's no southern road to the Spaceport so taxpayers interested in the arts can go see it.” The sculpture was funded by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs through the Art in Public Places Program, a program that has worked to install over 2,500 works of art throughout New Mexico. Below, see the work in its full glory:

Photo: DJ Cordero

Photo: DJ Cordero

Photo: DJ Cordero

Photo: DJ Cordero

Love these stunning photos? A limited number of Otto Rigan's 'Genesis' prints are available for purchase at DJ Cordero's site. Please contact for more information. 


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Milky Way
night sky
site specific
Otto Rigan
Spaceport America