Desrt X 2019. SPECTER by Sterling Ruby - Photo by Lance Gerber.
Desert X 2019. SPECTER by Sterling Ruby – All photos by Lance Gerber.

Palm Springs 2019 – At Desert X contemporary art exhibition in the Coachella Valley, Southern California, a series of outdoor exhibitions addresses timely and poignant issues – from the depleting Salton Sea, indigenous peoples’ rights and the political battle at the US-Mexico border. Scattered along the desert landscape, the installations offer a chance to reflect on contemporary social and political issues. [Explore the map]


Western Flag… the smoking flag reflecting on petrol industry

Palm Springs Visitors Center, 2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

Desrt X 2019. Western Flag by John Gerrard - Photo by Lance Gerber.
Western Flag by John Gerrard.

A flag made of smoke is projected on a large screen across the desert landscape. John Gerrard’s Western Flag depicts the site of the Lucas Gusher, the world’s first major oil find, located in Spindletop, Texas – now barren and exhausted. [Watch the video]

The work acts a stark reminder of not only the willful exploitation and depletion of resources, but also of the energy taken to return the deserted land to its current state of artificial habitation.


SPECTER: the ghostly fluorescent desert container

Palm Springs Visitors Center, 2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

Desrt X 2019. SPECTER by Sterling Ruby - Photo by Lance Gerber.
SPECTER by Sterling Ruby.

Sterling Ruby’s glowing orange monolith creates a jarring optical illusion resembling a Photoshopped composite or collage, as if something has been removed or erased from the landscape. “Fluorescent orange is traditionally used for safety, as a warning. Here that logic is reversed: a ghostly object, set apart from the natural environment, hiding in plain sight.”


A Point of View… Cultural osmosis across the desert

70th Avenue & Sea View Way.

Desrt X 2019. 'A Point of View' by Iván Argote- Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘A Point of View’ by Iván Argote.

Colombian-born artist Iván Argote created elevated sculptures overlooking the Salton Sea. Climbing the concrete steps visitors can communicate with each other or turn to the landscape.

Desrt X 2019. 'A Point of View' by Iván Argote- Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘A Point of View’ by Iván Argote.

Engraved messages in Spanish and English address the long arch of memory contained in Argote’s blend of pre-Columbian and brutalist architecture. The assembled sculptures function also as sundials representing time in fragmentation.


Going Nowhere Pavilion #01… Inside and Outside blur!

12878-12822 Eliseo Road, Desert Hot Springs.

Desrt X 2019. 'Going Nowhere' by Julian Hoeber - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Going Nowhere’ by Julian Hoeber.

Julian Hoeber’s Going Nowhere Pavilion #01 is a Möbius strip made from concrete breeze blocks in a variety of fleshy pinks and browns. The twisting nature of the sculpture shows that what is inside and outside can quickly become indiscernible. The result is an image of the mind and a study of phenomenological consciousness at the same time.


Visit Us in the Shape of Clouds… Reflecting on border migration

Landfill Road to Polk treet.

Desrt X 2019. 'Visit us in the shape of clouds' by Armando Lerma - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Visit us in the shape of clouds’ by Armando Lerma.

Snakes, birds, parrots, fish, monkeys, seashells, plants, flowers, and rock art populate Armando Lerma’s mural illustrating a story of migration and the transitory.

Desrt X 2019. 'Visit us in the shape of clouds' by Armando Lerma - Photo by Lance Gerber.
Desrt X 2019. ‘Visit us in the shape of clouds’ by Armando Lerma – Photo by Lance Gerber.

The artist reflects on the lives and traditions of the Mexican farmworker community in his hometown of Coachella. His work asserts a Chicano pop art aesthetic with a distinctive iconography and graphic style


Dive-In… Will global warming flood the desert again?

Cap Homme and Ralph Adams Park 72500 Thrush Road.

Desert X 2019. 'Drive In' by Superflex - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Drive In’ by Superflex.

Coachella was named after the many fossilized shells, conchillas, Spanish settlers discovered in the former submarine valley. For Danish collective Superflex geological history and the not-so-distant future meet in the recognition that with global warming, rising water levels will again submerge the deserts again.

Desert X 2019. 'Drive In' by Superflex - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Drive In’ by Superflex.

Rethinking architecture from the point of view of future submersion, their mission has been to create land-based forms equally attractive to human and marine life”.


Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Native Spirits… wihispering across the desert

Drive north on Gene Autry Trail between Via Escuela & Interstate 10.

Desrt X 2019. 'Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Native Spirits' b6 Cara Romero - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Native Spirits’ b6 Cara Romero.

Cara Romero is a Chemehuevi tribal citizen and artist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her new photographic series responds to the ancestral lands of the Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Serrano, and Mojave people, examining indigenous life through a contemporary view while offering a complex understanding of today’s native life, where women often take center stage.

Desrt X 2019. 'Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Native Spirits' b6 Cara Romero - Photo by Lance Gerber.
Desrt X 2019. ‘Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Native Spirits’ b6 Cara Romero.

These small but mighty figures have returned to remind us of our deep connections to the land, the stories contained within it, and how we can live in relation to it”.


Desert X 2019: All photos by Lance Gerber.

Desrt X 2019. SPECTER by Sterling Ruby - Photo by Lance Gerber.
SPECTER by Sterling Ruby.
Desrt X 2019. 'Going Nowhere' by Julian Hoeber - Photo by Lance Gerber.
‘Going Nowhere’ by Julian Hoeber.