Picture the serene desert: the heat of the sun; harsh light beating down, reflecting off the sand, casting shadows from the scarce vegetation; hardly anything taller than a tree for miles. The horizon is only interrupted by the towering bluish-gray mountains in the distance.
Then there is a shimmer – suddenly out of the landscape emerges the outline of a house constructed completely in reflective glass. No, it’s not a mirage – although that is the title of one installation included in the ~60-day exhibition of Desert X.
Doug Aitken, “The Mirage,” 2017.
Welcome to Desert X, 2017.
Desert X is an interactive art exhibit/installation/event currently taking place in the Coachella Valley. Through April 30th, the Valley and its desert landscape are the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists. This year’s artists were selected by Neville Wakefield, the former curator of Frieze Projects (artists’ commissions that are part of the Frieze Art Fair in London), and past advisor to PS1 (Long Island City branch of New York’s Museum of Modern Art).
Claudia Comte, “Curves and Zig Zags,” 2017, paint and concrete. (Lance Gerber / Desert X)
The individuals’ projects are meant to amplify and articulate global and local issues – ranging from climate change to starry skies, tribal culture to immigration, tourism to golf. The art, in various indoor and outdoor locations throughout the Valley, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, is open to the public free of charge. Desert X hopes to offer visitors a way to see the Valley and reflect on the presented issues through the eyes of the artists.
Tavares Strachan, “I am,” 2017. 290 craters dug over 100,000 square feet (or the size of two America football fields). The holes are then filled with brightly lit neon tubes, meant to be seen from space.
By encompassing the desert landscape as the exhibition space, Desert X offers visitors the unique opportunity to discover the unknown and re-explore the familiar with a new perspective.
“If the desert is indeed god without man, then desert x is art without constraint.”
Philliip K. Smith, “The Circle of Land and Sky,” 2017. Made from 300 geometric reflectors, each placed at a 10 degree angle to merge land and sky.
Glenn Kaino, “Hollow Earth,” 2017. A sculpture made from glass and wood that creates the illusion of a tunnel descending deep into the Earth, housed in an abandoned shed.
Desert X is produced by Desert Biennial, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 2015 to bring the finest international artists to
the Coachella Valley to create art, engage viewers, and focus attention on the Valley’s environment — its natural wonders as well as socio-political-economic issues that make it vibrant, curious, and exciting.