6 installations to see at Desert X 2021
By Michael Juliano
March 11, 2021
Every two years since 2017, Desert X has turned a stretch of the Coachella Valley into a playground for massive art installations that offer visually impactful but often provocative thoughts about the surrounding desert environment.
The out-of-the-gallery, open-air experiences seem practically made for our current moment—and so too does the fact that all 13 of the site-specific installations are free to visit.
Desert X runs from March 12 to May 16, so you’ll have some time to see everything. And we do suggest seeing everything: Especially if the desert is a bit of a destination for you, hitting up all of the installations is worth your while. But if you’re looking for some quick highlights, we’ve picked out six installations that we think stood out following a virtual preview just ahead of the exhibition’s opening. Some of the spots are right along the road and others are in sandy expanses of the desert, so we’ve included the precise latitude and longitude that Desert X has provided for each.
Nicholas Galanin, Never Forget
North of the Palm Springs Visitors Center at Tramway Rd, 2901 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, 33°51’27.7”N 116°33’32.8”W
The Alaskan artist has co-opted the instantly recognizable letterforms of the Hollywood sign—which, when erected in 1923, served as an advertisement for the whites-only Hollywoodland housing development—into a 45-foot tall, impossible-to-ignore reminder of the indigenous Cahuilla people’s claim to the area. “The chosen narrative of Palm Springs is one of Hollywood,” Galanin says of the work’s location, and he hopes its visibility will “invite everyone to understand these histories.”