Salvation Mountain, Noah Purifoy's Art Museum, & the Ghost Town Bombay Beach 🔮
Aside from visiting the shopping plaza nearby the Airbnb we stayed at in previous post, we also got to visit some great and well-known art spaces in Joshua Tree: Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum and Salvation Mountain. There are already a bunch of reviews and blog posts going over Salvation Mountain the Noah’s Museum, so I won’t go into detail with them, but I will say that both places carried a sense of eeriness yet vibrance to them and I think they perfectly match the mood of desert heat and isolation. I’m far from an art critic, but that’s the ~ * vibes * ~ I got lol.
Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum
Bombay Beach, the Ghost Town next to the Salton Sea
On the drive back home, we accidentally passed by Bombay Beach, a ghost town next to the Salton Sea. Before coming across the Bombay Beach sign, neither Brendan and I ever heard of it. We wondered why this town was so isolated from everything else, and why anyone would choose to live next to the toxic Salton Sea… of all places to live. Driving through the town, there’s a plethora of abandoned homes and graffiti warning millenials and Instagrammers to “stay away from Bombay Beach.” It was eery to say the least. I felt like I was in a scene from Children of the Corn where the couple gets lost and ends up stuck in a ghost town. (I linked the opening scene to the Children of the Corn link because I couldn’t find that specific scene. This scene is a bit graphic, so if you spook easily, don’t click on it lol).
Anyway, Bombay Beach isn’t completely abandoned….
There were a handful of locals who seemed to comfortably inhabit this space, a space they seem to call home. We saw people sitting on beach chairs under the shade near their mobile home, a guy fixing his bike, and another guy working on some project. We didn’t get out of the car to explore because this really seemed like a desert version of Children of the Corn and I was kind of spooked. However, after looking it up, I found this place has a very interesting history.
Before the Salton Sea became the barren and toxic wasteland we see today, Bombay Beach was a flourishing desert getaway booming in the 50’s and 60’s where the rich could swim, golf, and party on their yachts. This article by Ella Morton goes over the rise and fall of this now ghost town. These days, the graffiti warning millenials to stay away displays how Bombay Beach has become a novelty to the youth. Instagrammers and hipsters have found their way to this small town gathering to see installations of art closely defined as edgy and inspirational. I found this article by Rory Carroll to be one of my favorites when I was reading up more about the town.
It’s interesting how people are using art to somewhat revive what was dead and abandoned. While some agree that making Bombay Beach into an attraction for millenials adds to tourism and popularity, others argue that it should be left alone, to let things be the way they are.
What do you think? Should our world of Instagrammers and self-defined LA Bohemians renew Bombay Beach or should we just let it be? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and as always, your privacy is always respected. (: