Rick Araluce: The Final Stop

A photograph of Rick Araluce's Final Stop structure depicting a train station platform with tracks and tunnels.

Rick Araluce, The Final Stop (detail), 2017. Wood, foam, lighting, electronics, sound, various media. Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Rick Araluce: The Final Stop transforms a gallery into an abandoned underground subway platform in the artist’s first large-scale installation on the East Coast. Stepping on to the platform, visitors are enveloped in the illusion of an eerie subterranean world where flickering lights and distant rumblings suggest the comings and goings of trains that never arrive.


Araluce is an artist and scenic designer based in Seattle. His immersive, hyperreal environments, in the form of both room-sized installations and miniature works, reflect his fascination with forgotten and transitional spaces and with what lies hidden there. He incorporates light, sound, and meticulously constructed trompe-l’oeil elements into his installations to create subtle narratives and suggestions of spaces just out of reach, enhancing the feeling that viewers have entered a new, unnerving reality.

Araluce’s interdisciplinary works reflect his intense engagement with materials and process. Nearly all elements of his installations are fabricated by Araluce himself, from handmade pipe fittings to hand-carved furniture to wood painted to exactly resemble concrete cracking with age, all designed to help deepen the illusion of a forgotten reality. One of Araluce’s inspirations is miniaturist and criminologist Frances Glessner Lee, whose works are the subject of the exhibition Murder is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death in the adjoining galleries.

This site-specific installation was designed by Araluce for the Renwick Gallery as part of the museum’s ongoing exploration of large-scale contemporary works in its historic gallery spaces. Nora Atkinson, the museum’s Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, organized the installation.

Visiting Information

October 20, 2017 – January 282018
Open Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m
Free Admission



Rick Araluce: The Final Stop is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

SAAM Stories

Photo of a table with paper drawings, a hammer, and other tools.
You step out onto the edge of the platform and you wait. You look towards the end of the tunnel and see lights flicker in the distance and the rumblings of what sound like a train approaching. But how far away is it?