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Desert X made its return to Palm Springs last weekend, open with the appropriate health and safety guidelines at locations across the Coachella Valley through May 16. Curated by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield and Co-Curator César García-Alvarez and sponsored by watchmaker Richard Mille, it features work by 13 artists from eight different countries that created site-specific installations exploring the desert as each a place and an idea.
The public is invited to discover works by participating names like Judy Chicago, Zahrah Alghamdi, Felipe Baeza, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Ghada Amer, Oscar Murillo, Nicholas Galanin, and Alicja Kwade. The featured artists look to the communities of the valley through a range of themes relevant to our current reality, like land rights and ownership, migration, water exploitation, social justice, and more.
“Desert X 2021 seeks to explore this idea of the desert as a place where the marginalized and migratory—whose voices and histories may have struggled to manifest within the dominant discourses of growth and development—can also be heard,” said Wakefield.
Highlights to look out for include Chicago’s live smoke sculpture scheduled to take place on April 9 and Clottey’s The Wishing Well, offering a commentary on access to potable water by Clottey. Visitors will also find a billboard activation by Xaviera Simmons confronting white stereotypes and complicity titled Because You Know Ultimately We Will Band A Militia; a dioramic depiction of the life of an early homesteader titled Jackrabbit Homestead, created by Kim Stringfellow; and Baeza’s mural about the erasure of queer communities from local histories, Finding Home in My Own Flesh.
With support from Gucci,this year’s edition of Desert X also features a special activation, Pit Stop. Pit Stop celebrates the fashion house’s collaboration with The North Face with an installation in a geodesic dome highlighting a shared spirit of adventure and exploration.
“More so than ever, Desert X 2021 is an exhibition for our times,” said Desert X Founder and President Susan Davis. “The curators have brought together an extraordinary group of international artists who have made compelling works that celebrate the Coachella Valley and its histories while provoking us to explore our commonalities and celebrate our differences.”