Oppenheim first executed this work in 1977 as part of a visiting artist workshop at the University of Montana. The title refers to what the artist felt was a jarring difference between the “very beautiful and serene” lifestyle and natural landscape of Montana and the diversity and energy of New York City in the late 1970s—
a kind of creative “madness” he felt was missing from the bucolic lifestyle of the region. The work suggests an upheaval, bringing stars down to the earth. Because of the temporary nature and relatively remote location of Wishing the Mountains Madness, Oppenheim documented it by combining aerial photography and maps of the location outside Missoula.
1977/2016. Painted wood star units, each 48 x 48" (122 x 122 cm).
Fabricated at Storm King Art Center. Area covered: 2 acres (8,094 sq. m)