There are two types of desert travelers: those who appreciate its austere beauty and those who consider it a necessary evil on the drive to Vegas. Unlike most things in our increasingly binary society, the third presentation of Desert X will appeal to both. Featuring large-scale installations from a roster of international artists, the outdoor art exhibition will run from March 12 to May 16 at sites spanning 40 miles across Southern California’s Coachella Valley.
Organizers say the exhibition provides artists a rare opportunity to present work at a time when many museums are closed. Past highlights included a series of billboards displaying images by Chemehuevi Indian artist Cara Romero, whose visceral representations of Indigenous cultural memory and modern experience inspired thousands of roadside selfies. This year’s edition was curated by César García-Alvarez and Neville Wakefield, and features pieces from 13 artists.
“Projects will explore issues essential to our collective future and the histories, realities, and possibilities of the Coachella Valley and its many communities through themes of land rights and ownership, the desert as border, migration, water exploitation, social justice, racial narratives of the west, the gendered landscape and the role of women and young people,” according to an announcement released by Desert X.
Visitors can mosey at their own pace, idling in their vehicles to view artwork. Don’t worry if you don’t live on the West Coast though: This year’s exhibition will also have greater digital engagement, according to the Los Angeles Times. Viewers can listen to artist talks and watch special performances. There’s even a film titled Desert X 2021, which will illustrate various motifs in the exhibition and include snippets of the artwork.
You’ll be able to access a map with exact locations of installations starting March 12 on desertx.org (you can also download the Desert X 2021 app).
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