Patti Smith once sang in the song Gloria these immortal words: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” Well, today is the day, guys. On Wednesday I told you about some bronze statues peeing outside the Kafka Museum. But now I have a completely different collection of sculptures for you. In Yucca Valley, Desert Christ Park depicts Jesus’ time on Earth. As visitors walk around the 3.5 acre site they are greeted by 40 all-plaster statues, with the main highlight being a massive “last supper” that people can add themselves into, you know, for a Japanese tourist photo. If you’re wondering how Christ Park started, you need to go back to 1951 when the property was owned by Reverend Eddie Garver.
It was his vision to establish a Christian-themed park as a light for world peace. He soon met Frank Antone Martin, a sculptor-poet and engineer, who came up with the idea to create “Jesus” statues out of steel-reinforced concrete. Desert Christ Park was dedicated on Easter Sunday of that year with a resurrected statue. Anyway, here we are over 60 years later and the park is still with us. Unfortunately, it’s free so a few statues are missing limbs and there is a lot of graffiti on the trail. But art, whether Christ-like or not, will always be disrespected, especially when it’s out in the elements of the harsh desert conditions. That it survives at all is a miracle!