Cruising down I-90 in South Dakota, motorists will come upon a massive 60-foot bull’s head, rising out of the ground like some pagan effigy and guarded by a pair of skeletal minotaurs.
Assuming that these steel creations don’t cause the driver to crash before arriving, visitors will find that Porter Sculpture Park is a unique roadside attraction that isn’t afraid to get a little dark. The collection of over 50 welded metal sculptures is the vision of artist and farmer Wayne Porter.
The various sculptures are comprised of old scrap metal and disused agricultural and railroad equipment. Many of Porter’s pieces are painted an array of bright, cheery colors which often conflict with the left-of-center sculptures themselves. Among the dream-like creations are a jack-in-the-box which is crying blood; an oversized frog mid-dissection; and even a handful of roaring dragons. Visiting the Porter Sculpture Garden is a bit like stepping into a surreal world dotted with evocative artifacts that remind you of our world, yet are somehow not entirely of it.
The sculpture garden (particularly the iconic bull’s head, as well as the upside-down hammer and several others) can be seen from I-90 itself, thus making it a readily recognizable landmark of southeastern South Dakota (as well as quite a bit easier for the lone explorer to find). Fans of outsider art and nightmares should both find something to love at the Porter Sculpture Park, which is located within a piece of beautiful prarie land rich with wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. Be sure to chat with the artist if he’s there. This art is the result of many years his work, and it makes you laugh, think, and wonder.
Know Before You Go
The sculpture garden is located on the eastern edge of McCook County. Get off I-90 at exit #374 (the Montrose exit), and proceed south on 451st Avenue (for less than a mile; destination will be on your left).The Sculpture park is open daily, 7 A.M.-8:30 P.M. Memorial Day Weekend through the end of September. Admission Fee is $10 for Adults, $5 Ages 13-17, Ages 12 & under free.