Friday, April 7, 2023

Desert X 2023: See Weird Art In The Desert

Desert X is back in the Coachella Valley, just in time for Coachella. The outdoor art show is held every two years in the Palm Springs area, showing off strange and random exhibits outside. You can go on sort of a quest to see them all. We've mentioned it a few times already, as something to go visit on a weekend from LA. Below, we'll be sharing what we saw over two weekends with friends and a Meetup group, while on are own quest to visit all of them.

Desert X is really up to you on how you want to try and find each exhibit. If coming from LA, you might want to head to the furthest. The easiest might be how we did it. Visiting the Palm Desert locations and then going for the Desert Hot Springs/ Palm Springs locations.

*Wear boots or sturdy shoes, you'll be going through desert terrain.
*Bring plenty of water or get a Slurpee to keep cool.
*Bring gear for wind, these places can get real windy, so stuff to keep your hair out of your face or your hat on your head.


No.1225 Chainlink
74184 Portola Road, Palm Desert
33.775917, -116.368694

Rana Begum's piece has you wondering in and out of an easily accessible chain-link fence. It almost becomes a playground equipment as its bright yellow color draws you in. We found ourselves just grabbing photos from different angles and thinking about what really creates a space for an activity as all that's really there is fences in an odd pattern.


Amar a Dios en Tierra de Indios, Es Oficio Maternal
Sunnylands Center & Gardens
37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage
33.780500, -116.406167

By Paloma Contreras Lomas, a car that has you questioning what's really going on nearby and did you just miss something from a sci-fi movie? It's tricked out to be part monster, part strange puppet show on the hood.

You'll have to enter the lovely Sunnylands, think a much, much smaller Getty Center, to see it. So be careful with times you want to visit as it's not always open.

Liquid A Place
Homme Adams Park
72500 Thrush Road, Palm Desert
33.708547, -116.399372

These stairs to nowhere, except the other end from artist Torkwase Dyson are somehow supposed to make you think of water. We don' really get it, but, it does allow you to go through and over a strange structure in the desert. The little pizza slice bridge area just draws you in. Maybe, just a part of us seek to be a troll under the bridge.


Searching for the Sky (While Maintaining Equilibrium)
Pierson Boulevard between Foxdale Drive and Miracle Hill Road, Desert Hot Springs
33.963394, -116.485582

We were hoping for a bit more from these solar panels, that weren't really solar panels from Mario GarcĂ­a Torres. These oddly fake panels rotate wildly as though they're tying to capture the sun ... if clouds were constantly getting in the way at high speeds. Mechanical bulls without the bulls is supposed to make us think of macho cowboy culture, but for my group, we thought it was more of a waste of electricity, as we followed the underground power lines.

San Gorgonio Street and Bubbling Wells Road, Desert Hot Springs
33.940884, -116.483980

What can you say about that statue about the women whose missing her upper torso riding a horse? Tschabalala Self's piece is one that you may ponder, like, why did she leave the hands?

It and all the other pieces have deeper meanings, or at least deeper meanings for the artists that created them. You can look up what they're trying to convey with either the Desert X App or from the QR code you can scan on the signs for each piece nearby.

Or you can just leave it up to your imagination. It's art, you get what you want out of it.

Namak Nazar
Worsley Road between Pierson and Mission Lakes Boulevards
Desert Hot Springs
33.965665, -116.583173

Himali Singh Soin & David Soin Tappeser have captured the Wes Anderson award of the exhibit. Sounding like the 60's camp you just barely remember from an old movie you saw on TV, these loudspeakers mostly spewed vague nonsense. And, perhaps, the winds made them to hard to understand.

James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center
480 W. Tramview Road, Palm Springs
33.868051, -116.553720

Wanna a very short maze on bales of hay? Gerald Clarke can hook you up. This piece sort of draws you to its center and makes you chat, sort of like a powwow. It's supposed to be like a big game board, but no one seems to get the game while we were there or it just wasn't that fun to play.

The Smallest Sea with the Largest Heart
2249 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
33.849977, -116.549802

This one seems to have some merit from Lauren Bon. A heart shaped strainer will supposedly clean all the gunk and waste from Salton Sea water. 

This one's hard to get into as it's only happening four nights a week and they ask you to RSVP free tickets. Still, it's one of our favorites as they have to raise the heart strainer out of the water to show you...well, how gross it gets. And, they make it a little show.

The pool it resides in should be crystal clear by the Desert X's end in May.

We just wonder how gross a heart composed of garbage will look.

Sleeping Figure
I-10 Exit 110 Haugen-Lehmann Way to Railroad Ave
33.922876, -116.689379
On view daily, from sunrise to sunset

A giant figure made out of storage containers was laid to rest by Matt Johnson. His piece is the largest and the most easy to spot. The hulking figure is the closes we get to live out our giant robot fantasies.

Desert X is a great adventure for you to find on your path out of LA. It lets you hop in and find some very strange pieces to climb on, grab a pic with or meet other travelers on their own adventures. Perhaps, looking for an activity outside, it's a definite way to explore the surrounding Coachella Valley, but just close enough to enjoy the area or Joshua Tree too. And, you could always find a nice new place to eat in the surrounding tourist trap cities.