Desert X: Where Landscape is Infinite
Between the sand and cactus—in the middle of the desert—you will find a patch of art installations, known as Desert X.
Featuring sixteen installations from well known and emerging modern contemporary artists, such as Doug Aitken, Philip K Smith III, Claudia Comte, Jennifer Bolande, Will Boone, Lita Albuquerque, Armando Lerma, Jeffrey Gibson, Sheri Guirguis, Norma Jeanetta, Glenn Kaino, Gabriel Kuri, Richard Rob Pruitt, Juliao Sarmiento, and Tavares Strachan, they are installed in Palm Springs and its surrounding areas. The goal was to bring exciting interactive experiences that amiplify and articulate global and local issues; everything from climate change, tribal cultures, immigration, and tourism are on the table for discussion. All of the installations are free for the public to experience and reflect upon these issues.
I recently attended Desert X on a weekend getaway. I scheduled my visit on the weekend Doug Aitken was scheduled to speak. For those who didn't attend GMD LA Tour in November, Doug Aitken had a solo exhibition at MOCA's The Geffen Contemporary in Downtown Los Angeles. It was an immersive experience of sounds, moving imagery and shattered mirror worlds, collecting much of his work over the last thirty years. This has given him grand exposure and name awareness. Little be said, I wanted to meet him and see what he had to say about this work. He didn’t discuss too much of the process but rather the other work he has done over the years that led him to bring ‘MIRAGE’ to Desert X. I was illuminated by each project and how each one is related to the other.
The exhibition is open until the end of April—just around Coachella music festival—but some installations have said they might be up for longer. With such little time left, massive amounts of visitors and long waiting lines have formed under the hot desert sun. These experiences are truly immersive and one of a kind. I can’t recommend them enough. I found myself in awe of the infinite views of the desert and how these art pieces shaped the space within their surroundings.
Below I have gathered some tips and a breakdown of the best way to visit Desert X. I highly recommend a visit before this is gone for good. Take your gurls and have a your own GMD Day. Don't forget to hashtag your art adventures with #GURLMuseumDay.
5 Tips To Experience Desert X
It's still a desert, so make sure you have water and sunblock at all times.
Don’t forget to stop by Ace Hotel to visit Desert X Hub. They sell books and swag, plus you can pick up an official takeaway with a map.
If you only have one day to spend, I would break visit these: Doug Aitken, Gabriel Kuri, Jennifer Bolande, Claudia Comte and Philip K Smith. To view the entire Desert X experience, it would take two days. Booking a night stay is the best way to experience everything.
If you're doing two days, I recommend that you visit Palm Springs Art Museum. They have a great exhibition on Women of Abstract Impressionism on their 1st floor and they have a growing contemporary collection on the 3rd floor.
Written & Photography by Diane Lindquist