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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Stonefridge in Santa Fe

Atop the flat landscape on the edge of Santa Fe, among tumbleweeds and trash and the beauty of northern New Mexico's skyline, "Stonefridge" catches your eye and confuses your mind like a mirage.

Refrigerators of all colors and shapes stand 18-feet high, lined up in a 100-foot diameter circle, facing inward toward a cluster of taller fridge towers. It's as if the outer ring of fridges is worshipping these inner towers, or perhaps protecting them from the outside dangers.

Like Stonehenge, which is aligned to solar and lunar astronomical events, "Stonefridge" is geographically aligned to its own kind of power source: Los Alamos National Laboratories. Adam Horowitz, a critic of the atomic bomb, purposefully built the monument in a place where visitors can see the labs in the distance. He calls it an "atomic alignment." More.

The project was inspired by mountains of appliances Horwitz observed at the Santa Fe landfill. "I saw them as building blocks, giant building blocks." He decided to use old refrigerators to build an "anti-monument," as he calls it, to America's waste. "You drive in there to dump a few bags of garbage, and you get to see the final destination of everything we use," he says. "You see how much we throw away. It was shocking."

To illustrate that "we are slaves to this consumer society," his volunteers wear loin cloths while he wears "authoritative costumes." Together they've erected 140 refrigerators using teepee poles, ropes and pulleys rigged into a man-powered crane. "To really create a prehistoric monument, I wanted to use primitive technology," he says. "It helps transport people to another time of the human experience." Naturally, he is filming the process for a future documentary.

Horowitz first approached Santa Fe in 1997; after months of meetings and a $1 million insurance policy he was given the go-ahead for his installation.

In the first year, he collected more than 200 refrigerators; the day after his project was approved, Horowitz was told his fridges had been "accidentally" bulldozed. He started again, putting ads in the paper and going to thrift stores, and collected 99 more - they also were bulldozed. "Political feuds, personal bankruptcy and large-scale vandalism" have slowed the process. Vandals have set off bombs inside the refrigerators, which are bolted to each other.

In response Horwitz has "learned to embrace the process. The process can be more revealing than the completion."

Horwitz needs about 60 more refrigerators and appreciates donations. He'll take any fridge but prefers them funky. For instance, he hauled his family's own 1950s yellow frost-free Westinghouse to the site from Los Angeles. "I grew up eating out of this refrigerator."
E-mail him at

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At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have no fridge to donate, but he's a genius indeed:)

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is a remarkable story. It's 3 years later ... is the refrigerator monument still there I wonder?

As an aside ... I went to elementary school with Adam some 35 years ago! I considered him my best friend in the world during those early formative years. I'm 50-years old with 3 children and hadn't seen or heard of Adam until reading this blog post today.

The Internet is an amazing thing!

peace, Villager (Adam knew me as Wayne Hicks)

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:20 PM, Blogger melinama said...

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