Rocks, Sun, and Art

Desert X to bring art, a symposium, and a podcast to California’s Coachella Valley

Art biennial Desert X is coming to the Coachella Valley to showcase rising international artists. (Desert X/Lance Gerber)

The organizers behind Desert X, an art and architecture–focused biennial that takes place in the Coachella Valley east of Los Angeles, have unveiled this year’s participating artists.

For its 2019 run, the festival will highlight a who’s-who of rising international creatives, including Venezuelan-born artist Iván Argote, Mexican artist Pia Camil, Irish artist John Gerrard, American photographer Cara Romero, American artist Jenny Holzer, Egyptian-born artist Iman Issa, and the Danish art collective Superflex, among others. In addition to highlighting evocative works of landscape-based installations and sculpture, the organizers have expanded the scope of the exhibition to include film and performance-based projects, according to a press release. This expanded scope will apply to the geographic range of the exhibitions, as well. This year, the organizers have embraced a wide terrain for the works that extends south from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea and the U.S.-Mexico Border.

The Desert X 2019 program is led by Desert X artistic director Neville Wakefield and curators Amanda Hunt and Matthew Schum.



A goal for the 2019 program is to “embrace a range of ecological, environmental, and social issues that have been driving conversations about our role in the anthropocene,” according to Wakefield.

To facilitate this conversation, the organizers plan to hold a symposium titled Desert, Why? at the Palm Springs Art Museum (PSAM). The event takes place between March 1 and 3 and is billed as a “celebration of art and the environment.” The three-day event will highlight Unsettled, a sweeping exhibition of contemporary art from across the Americas that is currently on view at PSAM. Associated performances, panel discussions, and other events will also happen during the symposium across various locations.

A podcast hosted by Frances Anderton is set to “explore the environmental, ecological, and social themes in the 2019 Desert X exhibition,” as well. Anderton is the host of DnA: Design and Architecture, a weekly radio show on L.A.’s KCRW radio station. The podcast will be developed in collaboration with Avishay Artsy, a producer for DnA.

Desert X kicks off February 9 and runs through April 21, 2019.

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