The California desert has long been a source of inspiration for artists seeking to create large-scale works that exist outside the typical gallery space. Desert X celebrates that tradition by bringing contemporary artists from around the world out to the Coachella Valley to create pop-up installations and site-specific pieces. The art festival returns for a run from February 9 to April 21.
While the list of artists and events that will make up this year’s festival have not yet been announced, those details are expected to be released soon. The 2017 festival included 16 pieces, including contributions from artists Jennifer Bolande, Will Boone, and Glenn Kaino.
One of the most popular installations was artist Doug Aitken’s Mirage. The mirror-clad house reflected the surrounding mountains, almost disappearing into the landscape. The building’s design referenced architectural styles of the region while the infinite reflections brought up questions about the relationship between the built and natural environments and the expansion of human development. It was also a really popular selfie spot.
Visiting Desert X is free and self-guided, with maps of the artworks available at various locations and online. Guided tours ($125) will also be offered in conjunction with Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 14 to 24.
While the Desert X dates overlap with the Coachella music festival weekends–and stopping by the installations makes for a great road trip diversion for festival-goers–it’s a totally separate entity. And it’s one with a mission: The undercurrent of all the art presented at Desert X is raising awareness of environmental and political issues and engaging visitors with the natural world.