Heading west, with Airport, please! to the Desert X 2021 Art Biennial in Coachella Valley, CA
“As much as the desert is a state of place, it is also a state of mind. Its borders are not singular but multiple, and it is defined as much by social geography as physical boundary.”
… Neville Wakefield
The call of the outdoors, warmer weather and the austere beauty of Coachella Valley, California, are overwhelmingly tempting reasons to head west, to see the third edition of Desert X, a massive exhibition featuring large-scaled site-specific works by artists who explore the desert as both a place and an idea.
Desert X is amongst one of the first art experiences in the region since the lockdown. Apart from the artist projects it has commissioned, DX21 offers a safe viewing experience for public art. The works explore the reality of those who live in the desert and the socio-political context that shapes their lives. Curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, and co-curator Cesar Garcia Alavarez, Desert X 2021 features many newly commissioned works that challenge our society’s conventions while imagining a shared future. As we, at long last, see an end to the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic, this seems the perfect moment for these sculptural installations.
Participating artists include Ghada Amer, Judy Chicago, Alicja Kwade, Oscar Murillo, and many others commissioned specifically for this project built on themes explored in previous iterations, looker deeply at ideas essential to the sustainability of our future, our identity and our history.
DX21 acknowledges the Cahuilla People as the original stewards of the land and pays its respects to the Cahuilla nation, past, present and emerging, whose identity is linked with the Coachella Valley since its inception. Projects will explore the themes of land rights and ownership, the desert as border, migration, and the racial narratives of the West.
Neville Wakefield is a distinguished curator interested in exploring the ways in which art behaves outside of institutional venues. This interest led him to co-found Elevation1049, a site-specific biennial in Gstaad, Switzerland, and, for the last three years, to organize the recurring Desert X exhibitions in the Coachella Valley region of Southern California. As senior curatorial advisor for PS1 MoMA and curator of Frieze Projects, he gained a reputation for challenging the conditions that shape art in both commercial and noncommercial contexts. He has worked extensively with international institutions, including the Schaulager in Basel where he curated the Matthew Barney retrospective Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail.
The LRFA blog recommends a stay at Two Bunch Palms, a contemporary wellness escape, famous for its lithium rich geothermal hot springs and lush grounds. You’ll return to our constrained daily life truly refreshed.