Porter Sculpture Park
About 30 miles west of Sioux Falls in the middle of corn fields near Montrose, South Dakota, you pass the silhouette of a 60 foot, 25 ton iron bull’s head welded together from railroad tie plates. We found this place online for roadside attractions. If we hadn’t we would have driven right by with only a moment to realize that this was a large sculpture park displaying the collected works of Wayne Porter, a self taught metal sculptor.
From the pictures online I expected the usual campy “uninformed artist” work like the other muffler men and chainsaw carvings displayed on roadsides. And sure, some of them lean that way. But I was taken by some of the dark and threatening themes that run through many of the pieces. The bull head looms, an impressive piece on its own. But positioned at each corner are towering skeletal figures with curved ram horns and horse skull faces, wielding tall weapons. It gives the whole endeavor a certain ritual satanic element that I thought was much more threatening than the normal roadside kitsch. Similarly two red cloaked figures with no faces stand nearby. (Katy and I both note that these bear a striking resemblance to the Red Robes in our favorite podcast The Adventure Zone.) A collection of naked hippy girls dancing around Pan playing a saxophone. A maniacal jack-in-the-box, giant spiders, dragons with sharp teeth, a giant dissected frog. And then mixed in are pieces of innocent whimsy like a series of giant goldfish and a pink rocking horse.
Attached to each piece was a poem-like description in shaky handwritten block letters.
A good mix of bizarre and impressive construction skills. I recommend checking it out.
The artist was on site and welcomed us to look around. $10/person.