1. Travel

Seen Instagram-worthy Seven Magic Mountains? There's a version in Florida.

The Nevada desert is nothing like Miami Beach — except that they’re both home to neon mountains by artist Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Ileana Morales Valentine stands next to Rondinone’s Miami Mountain. [Photo by Danny Valentine]
Published Jun. 13

MIAMI BEACH — You may have double-tapped Seven Magic Mountains on Instagram. Beyoncé and Jay-Z visited the towering stacks of multicolored boulders in the mountainous state of Nevada.

But even more shocking than those colors? Flat Florida has a neon mountain of its own.

Miami Mountain stands outside the Bass contemporary art museum. This single pillar in Miami Beach's Collins Park is part of the series by Ugo Rondinone, a Swiss artist based in New York and the same artist behind Seven Magic Mountains.

The 42-foot-tall sculpture is striking in its magnitude and fluorescent hues, which the artist describes as aggressively DayGlo. The museum acquired the piece in 2016, kicking off a 10-year initiative to add international contemporary art to its permanent collection.

It puts residents and tourists face-to-face with art, whether they intended to see it or not. And it's just what the artist wanted.

All his sculptural work is inspired by nature, Rondinone has said, and this series was inspired directly by hoodoo rock formations in the North American Badlands. The mountains are simple and accessible to people who may not regularly experience art. With their impressive stature and incongruity of bright hues on a natural material, they're instantly attractive.

"You don't have to understand an artwork," Rondinone said. "You just have to feel it."

It's hard to keep from smiling in front of the mountain. You can actually touch the boulders, too. (Just don't climb or harm the rocks.) And, by all means, pose for a photo. There are more than 1,700 public photos tagged #MiamiMountain, and more selfies are welcome.

Though Rondinone's Seven Magic Mountains and Miami Mountain look very similar in pictures, there are some differences. In Nevada, the rocks are limestone. In hurricane-prone Florida, they're granite. Miami Mountain stands alone, but it's taller than the group of stacked stones out west. And while Seven Magic Mountains incorporates black, silver and white amid the flashes of color, the hues in Miami would match a pack of highlighters.

When Rondinone first visited the square in Miami Beach, he noted an absence of color beyond the tropical whites and greens, so he sought to contribute a palette of neon rainbow for this commissioned work.

The Miami pillar is the first permanent installation in Rondinone's series. The installation in Nevada was intended as a two-year exhibit but has been extended through the end of 2021. Another installation in the series was unveiled in Liverpool in 2018.

As striking as the mountains are in Nevada's desert, they also command attention in the context of Collins Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Miami Beach with walkable access to hotels, shopping, restaurants and the beach. Most days it's fairly easy to visit the monument without encountering other admirers visiting for a photo at the same time.

"Here in Miami Beach, it's a landmark," said Julia Rudo, a spokeswoman for the Bass. "It's iconic."

Contact Ileana Morales Valentine at

If you go

Miami Mountain is at the corner of Collins Avenue and 21st Street in Miami Beach, just outside the Bass museum, 2100 Collins Ave. It is free to visit the sculpture, but fans of Ugo Rondinone's work will likely enjoy the contemporary art exhibits inside the museum. General tickets for the Bass start at $10. Metered parking is available surrounding Collins Park, and nearby hourly garages are at 18th Street and Meridian Avenue, 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, 20th Street and Liberty Avenue.

Miami Mountain is within walking distance of the Miami Beach Boardwalk, many South Beach hotels and the Miami Beach Regional Library. It's a half-mile from Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, the Fillmore and the Miami Beach Convention Center.


  1. There will be numerous salutes to the military today and Monday for Veterans Day.
    Veterans Day, Julie Andrews talks about her practically perfect career and country stars line up for Q-105′s Guitar Pull.
  2. This Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 photo, shows a manhole cover surviving from communist times in Berlin, when Volkseigene Betriebe, or Publicly Owned Enterprises, manufactured manhole covers for East German streets. MARKUS SCHREIBER  |  AP
    Travelers, look closely for signs that the city was once split in half.
  3. John C. Pelczynski of Massachusetts untangles the lines on his kite at the Veterans Day Fall Fly on TI. Tampa Bay Times (2014)
    Museums and aquariums are offering free admission, plus there are parades on land on sea in honor of Veterans Day
  4. When Terminal A at PortMiami opened in late 2018, it accommodated Royal Caribbean's massive Oasis-class ships. The $247 million project created one of the world's biggest cruise terminals and increased Royal Caribbean's passenger count at the port by a projected 1 million.
    Florida will finally be home to Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class of ships when Odyssey of the Seas debuts in slightly more than a year.
  5. The best amateur skateboarders in the world will be making their way to the Skatepark of Tampa this weekend for Tampa Am, e of skateboarding's most respected contests. Times (2016)
    Top skateboarders roll in for Tampa Am, Elton John’s farewell tour arrives, authors converge at reading festival and the Florida Orchestra goes deep into space.
  6. Cirque du Soleil's newest show, Axel, is performed on ice and hits Amalie Arena on Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Marie-Andrée Lemire
    It’s Halloween week, plus Cirque du Soleil brings a new ice show to Amalie and Spooky Empire, “the dark side of comic con” haunts the convention center.
  7. The SS American Victory is bathed in eerie purple lights for UnDead in the Water, the ship's haunted maze overrun with zombies. SHARON KENNEDY WYNNE  |  Times
    One of the better local haunts for Halloween season takes place aboard the SS American Victory.
  8. Visit Artpool in St. Petersburg to find a costume and stay for their Halloween Bash on Saturday, featuring visual art, burlesque, a runway show and music. Courtesy of Marc Anthony Smith
    Big Halloween parties and more murals are going up around St. Petersburg, plus Post Malone, Wynonna and comedian Bill Engvall will be on local stages.
  9. Thunderstorms are expected this weekend in Tampa Bay, prompting the cancellation of several outdoor events. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2014)
    MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival have canceled their popular Saturday activities.
  10. The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida in the spring of 2020, the theme park has announced. AP (2015)
    The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at the Orlando theme park.