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Friday, April 29, 2022

A Desert Of Wonders: High Desert Test Sites, Mojaveland & The Outhouse Art Gallery


No, it's not for getting high, but I'm not gonna stop you. Some of us trekked off the regular trail of Coachella and high-tailed ourselves into the high desert to check out some strange art strewn amongst the sand. We left the comforts of  LA for the High Desert Sites. And, we might have played a round of mini-golf and taken dumps in glass outhouses.

High Desert Test Sites is an exhibition of art outside and a fair driving distance ways from each piece. They can be momentous statues or videos playing near Pioneertown. Last weekend, we headed out to see some of them and ponder their meanings.

Now- May 22nd 
*Warning, bring plenty of extra water. It gets hot out there. Sunscreen and a hat aren't bad ideas as well.

Of the 9 art pieces we only saw 3 in our weekend adventure. First off, the strange behemoth of a woman with what we thought of as a a bone sticking through her abdomen. Foreign Body, by Paloma Varga Weisz is highly unsettling. While the figure seems to be at ease, you'd think something that large going through you might be a bit painful.  And, yes, there's plenty of room for boner jokes too if you want.

Really, though, seeing this figure on a desert road with maybe no cars coming by made it even more unsettling.

Not far was The End of The World by Jack Pierson. Giant letters spell it out just like the Hollywood Sign. Once again, you'll notice the calm nature of the desert surrounding it with hardly anything near you, but the highway. Big enough that the letters could easily dispatch you if they were alive.

After that, we had a little Respite by Kate Lee Short. This cabin in the woods is just a place to chill and listen to the wind. Not a place to spend the night as it has no doors, but a place to just experience nothing around you. It's so weird to hear such silence, sadly, no winds while we're were there.

As we said, there's more locations, but plan your time to going to each one and be sure to look at the driving instructions.

Before the heat got too bad we headed to the artist-designed and made Mojaveland, miniature golf course. It's only open one weekend a month and will probably take a break at the high heat of the summer. If you wanna go, next month might be your only shot.
5157 Adobe Rd., 29 Palms, CA 92277
Next pop-up weekend is May 28/29 noon-4pm
This pop-up is free, but, well worth giving a few bucks. The 12 holes, more will be added eventually, hopefully, all come from a different artist. Some work better than others, but figuring them out or just trying them with friends will make you happy you came to try it out. 

Seriously, some of these holes are crazy and we would love to see implemented in mini-golf courses closer to home. Castle Park, try a little bit harder.

When you arrive you're given a free club and golf ball and can go off and try out the course or explore the art. 
When we visited it happened to be the 1st anniversary of Mojaveland. Which we have to congratulate on being a fun place to visit all the way out in the desert. And we do want to visit again.

Here's some of our favorite holes from our visit.

Gotta love that Long Shot hole.

Now, we're sorry we hadn't visited this one earlier. The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery is every sort of tourist trap, hidden gem, weekend wonder. It's a real art gallery with multiple halls, but so much more. A 24-Hour chapel, a recycled figure garden, an oasis in the desert. And, it also has two glass outhouses.
77575 29 Palms hwy
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Closed Mon open 1-5pm every other day
Free to visit

Laurel Siedl, the owner had them put in for, well, a place people could do their business. Now, there's a layer on this glass outhouses so you can look out while you're doing your emptying, but others will only see a reflection of themselves. It does feel embarrassing at first, but just remember they can't see you...we hope.

We walked the non-profit art gallery inside and outside in awe of all of it. We could easily see spending time here again, seeing what new pieces are in the gallery or what's been added outside. Plenty of perfect shots to put on you phone. Or just a place to escape for a few.

You might want to head out before it gets too hot this Summer or plan another trip when near Palm Springs or near Joshua Tree.