Three Mind-Blowing Desert X Exhibits

For many Angelenos, the beach is considered their second home. Mine is quite the opposite. I find solace in the calming, seemingly endless plains of the Palm Desert area, also home to the sleepy but vibrant city of Palm Springs. Over the years the region has become synonymous with groundbreaking design and art, both architecturally and contemporarily. This reputation has continued to exponentially grow leaps and bounds, especially due in part to Modernism Week

Now that reputation has rapidly expanded into Coachella Valley, where the first round of Desert X exhibits are being installed and displayed.

In its nutshell, Desert X is a curated platform for talented artists of all ranges to come together and articulate a powerful statement, in a visual way, collectively. It certainly gives new life and meaning to the phrase — “We’re much stronger together.”

For this year’s Desert X, I attempted to see all of the exhibits and three stood out to me tremendously in their own distinct ways. 

Marna Ro jacket, KTZ x Linda Farrow helmet sunglasses

MIRAGE

by Doug Aitken

1. Doug Aitken’s Mirage

This reminded me of a real life-size of 'The Glass Menagerie', with the exception of being an enclosed ranch-style home that is entirely reflective. It was quite trippy and surreal upon walking closer to the house, as it blends into the surrounding natural landscape, hence the “mirage” effect. The most interesting aspect of the Mirage is that it manages to look different at any given time of the day, making this a prime exhibit for travel and Instagram photography. Pro-tip: Try to get there early as the crowds only get busier throughout the day and parking can become quite a challenge.

LOCATION: 
DESERT PALISADES

33°50'59.6"N 116°33'57.5"W

Visiting hours through April 30:

Monday to Friday: Open 3:30 pm to sunset

Saturday and Sunday: Open from sunrise to sunset

No Dogs Allowed

2. Phillip K. Smith’s Circle of Land and Sky

No joke, I seriously thought this was a futuristic crop circle intended to communicate with extraterrestrials. But it is actually whole lot more meaningful and sophisticated than that: The 300 geometric reflectors you see are specifically angled at 10 degrees to seamlessly interact with the sky and desert around it. Like the Mirage, no one image taken of the exhibit can ever be the same or replicated depending on the time of day, angle and climate. 

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THE CIRCLE OF LAND AND SKY

by Phillip K. Smith

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LOCATION:
FRANK SINATRA DR & PORTOLA AVE,
PALM DESERT

33°46'33.3"N 116°22'07.3"W

Open daily, sunrise to sunset.

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CURVES AND ZIG-ZAGS

by Claudia Comte

3. Claudia Comte’s Curves and Zig-zags

Perhaps the most straight-forward exhibit of the three, Curves and Zig-zags is rather self-explanatory. Structurally and visually, it represents a curve and zig-zag simultaneously. From afar, it creates what is commonly referred to as the “moire” effect. The interplay between 2 and 3 dimensional perspectives imbues this exhibit with a life-like wave quality that wiggles as you move towards and away from it. 

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LOCATION:
HOMME-ADAMS PARK

33°42'23.9"N 116°23'55.5"W

Open daily, sunrise to sunset. 

To fully take advantage Desert X’s many picturesque opportunities, I wore a head-to-toe Marna Ro outfit that transformed me into a desert bloom. It was the perfect sartorial ode to all the breathtaking scenery.