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When a Sterling Ruby Pops Up in The Desert
Leading international artists create art for Coachella Valley
Art Stuff 24 Feb 2019

The mysterious art installations that have started sprouting up from the dry Californian ground are for a project called Desert X biennial art festival. Desert X is produced by Desert Biennial, a not-for-profit charitable organization founded in 2015. The project brings together the finest international artists to the Coachella Valley to create art, engage viewers, and focus attention on the Valley’s special environment. Usually a spot for millennial party goers during Coachella Music festival, opening earlier this month, the second edition offers installations and sculptures with pops of colour, with a sense of meditation and contemplation. Its natural wonders as well as socio-political-economic issues surrounding the artworks are what make it vibrant, curious, and exciting for all. The art works, in various locations will also offer visitors a way to see the Valley as well as reflecting on serious and playful topics through the eyes of the participating artists’ creativity and work.
Sterling Ruby's Specter seen in the image above is one of several installations sprinkled around the Coachella Valley.
Sterling Ruby’s Specter seen in the image above is one of several installations sprinkled around the Coachella Valley.
The curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, projects give an artistic voice to local and worldwide issues with inspirations drawn from subjects such as climate change to immigration.
John Gerrard

In the image above the Western Flag footage is set against a barren oil field in Spindletop, Texas. It is aligned with the times of the day. It plays sunset at the same time as the real surroundings. “The simulation has no beginning or end and runs by software that calculates each frame of the animation in real time as it is needed,” said a description on the Desert x website. 
Set against the arid landscape of California’s Coachella Valley, the venue includes work by a total of 18 artists including Sterling Ruby, John Gerrard, Armando Lerma, Steve Badgett, Chris Taylor, Cara Romero, Cecilia Bengolea, Eric Mack, Gary Simmons, Iman Issa, Mary Kelly, Nancy Baker Cahill, Postcommodity and Pia Camil. The remote locations home to the artworks stretch from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea.
Lover's Rainbow by Pia Camil has a twin on the other side of the US-Mexico border
Lover’s Rainbow pictured above is by Pia Camil. It has a twin on the other side of the US-Mexico border.


The Desert X installations will be on site from 9 February to 21 April 2019. Visitor information is available from hubs in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio, as well as online. Desert x is free and open to all the general public.
Images are by Lance Gerber, via the Desert X website.

Text by Peigi Mackillop

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