Your GURL Art Pilgrimage to Desert X

GMD Founder, Diane Lindquist, in front of DRIVE-IN

GMD Founder, Diane Lindquist, in front of DRIVE-IN


Last weekend we traveled with four gurls on an art pilgrimage to Coachella Valley where we navigated our way through site-specific installations. The installations we visited are part of Desert X.

Desert X is a site-specific, contemporary art exhibition that is held in the Coachella Valley in Southern California. A treasure hunt for art, if you will. And when we found our arts’ oasis, we snapped pictures of course. Instagram-able photos aside, this is about much more than that. These installations are about how art behaves outside of institutional walls. We selected five installations: SPECTER, Lover’s Rainbow, DIVE-IN, Going Nowhere Pavilion #01 and Ghost Palm.


SPECTER by Sterling Ruby

A jarring red cube that hides in plain site. Upon first impression, one would think there is a construction zone going on, suggesting some sort of danger or warning. Fighting our way through the sandy winds of the desert, we approached the monolith cube. The backdrop of the desert frames this nomadic beauty…taking the sculpture context outside a gallery space.


Lover’s Rainbow by Pia Camil

Rain and fertility: the symbol of a rainbow. This sculpture made out of exposed rebar portrays development. The act of bending the rebar into the ground is a way to re-insert hope into the land. The mirror rainbows are also meant to throw light into the current immigration policies, prompting viewers to see things from two perspectives. This sculpture lives in two places: the Coachella Valley and in the Mexico border of Baja, Mexico.



Inspired by the misspelling of the word Coachella, the Danish group that goes by the name SUPERFLEX sought out to create this “fish-friendly” architecture. Spanish settlers originally named this valley Conchilla, which means “little shell.” Because of a mis-spelling the region became known as the Coachella Valley, thereby stripping it of the reminder that 6 million years ago, what is now desert had been underwater and connected to the so-called Western Interior Seaway. Using humor, SUPERFLEX created a social commentary on what the desert would be like, many years from now, if it was once again submerged with the sea levels rising.


Going Nowhere Pavilion #01 by Julian Hoeber

Famed psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s own attempts to use topology – the study of geometric properties – as a vehicle to describe the human mind is a subject artist Julian Hoeber has explored for years. As with the Möbius strip form, what is inside and outside the self can quickly become impossible to see.


Ghost Palm by Kathleen Ryan

Nestled in a plot of low desert, between the foreboding San Andreas Fault path and a line of tamarisk trees, Ghost Palm is a manifestation of the artist’s fascination with the tenuous balance between fragility and sheer power.

Selfie Moment with Rachel Fishman, Amy Nadeen Avila, Diane Lindquist (GMD Founder), Brittney Backos and Marina Murad in front of Ghost Palm

Selfie Moment with Rachel Fishman, Amy Nadeen Avila, Diane Lindquist (GMD Founder), Brittney Backos and Marina Murad in front of Ghost Palm


Tips for Desert X 2019

  1. Bring a hat, sunblock and some water: it gets hot so stay hydrated. But also bring a jacket because the desert can get cold very easily.

  2. It's intense to try to see everything at once. So we divided out excursion into two days.

  3. Download the Desert X app because as you are driving it lets you know where the next art location is.

  4. If you take photos on a traditional camera (to try to be artsy and impress your designer friends) be sure the film role isn't expired.

Written by Marina Murad

Published on Design Geek in Heels

All photography was collaboration of the gurls within this post. Special thanks to Diane Lindquist, Brittney Backos, Rachel Fishman and Amy Nadeen Avila.