Dirt. Rock. Barren land. Palm trees. One can get over-saturated with the desert view after a while. Luckily for us, we were still in Palm Springs, California when Desert X started, and we were able to get some culture!
Desert X is an exhibition of thirteen art installations around Palm Springs, basically turning the area from Palm Desert to Sky Valley to downtown Palm Springs into an outdoor art museum. A free app is available to download that introduces each artist and the piece he/she created along with directions to its location. It is free with parking and easy access to each piece, although timed tickets are required from Thursdays through Sundays for many, if not all, of the exhibits. It runs from March 12 to May 16, 2021, with one of the installations not being available until the early part of April. We spent a day driving around to see some of them. For more information about the artists and their creations, click on the names or visit desertx.org.
This installation isn’t as stark looking as the photo provided in the app. In fact, we have seen some small, deserted and decaying houses dot the desert landscape in the middle of nowhere. However, this is a great reminder of the harshness some have endured to call something their own, no matter how small or remote or solitary it might be.
Park on the side of the road, and walk down the sandy trail to this woven-mat maze. It would have been fun to get an aerial view of this, but it is just as fun to be able to touch it and interact with it by walking through it. It isn’t a large maze, but knowing how gusty the wind can get in this area, it is remarkable to see its solid construction can withstand the regular-occurring gusts.
This is the most “challenging” installation (for us, anyway!) to visit. Located near Sky Valley on top of a hill, we had to park at the bottom and walk straight up a paved driveway for what seemed like one-half mile. Wind was fiercely blowing. Carl’s cap blew off; my shirt billowed up; and we had to wear our masks all the way. Fighting the wind and our need for oxygen since the driveway was easily a 10% grade, if not greater, made this the most difficult one to view. Why a paved driveway? It appears that the owner of the property donated it for free advertising for the seven acres that are for sale. At least the driveway is installed, and the expansive view at the top is beautiful. We hope the new owner likes windy weather!
Just a few miles from ParaPivot, but much easier to access, is this tall wall sculpture constructed out of what looks like dyed or spray-painted pieces of cushion material. It would be interesting to know how it is constructed to withstand high winds, which is a regular occurrence in the Coachella Valley. Seeing the people coming to view this one reminds me of the phrase, “if you build it, they will come.”
On a grassy knoll behind the Desert Highland Unity Center, with a windmill farm and mountains as backdrops are two large cubes made out of plastic pieces from jerrycans that are used to transport water in Ghana. A reminder that water is not easily obtained by many in this world.
This is the last one we visited. We actually saw this a few weeks earlier when we were driving to the Aerial Tramway, but it was not yet completed. This installation is strategically located near the landscaped Palm Springs sign and addresses the infiltration of Hollywood onto what was initially Indian land.
We had an enjoyable day seeing these different installations and reading about the artists. What an interesting way to visit art while museum buildings are slow to open up during these pandemic times.
Get your culture on!