February 9, 2021

Desert X 2021 Artists and Detailed Plans Announced

By Jim Roberts

Desert X announced the participating artists in its third edition of the site-specific, international art exhibition opening March 12 to May 16, 2021 at sites across Greater Palm Springs. Thirteen artists from eight countries will be presented in the exhibition curated by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield and Co-Curator César García-Alvarez. Desert X 2021 will be among the first art experiences in the region since widespread lockdowns, offering a safe, outdoor experience that is free and open to all.

Participating artists include:

  • Zahrah Alghamdi (born 1977, Al Bahah, Saudi Arabia, based in Jeddah)
  • Ghada Amer (born 1963, Cairo, Egypt, based in New York)
  • Felipe Baeza (born 1987, Guanajuato, Mexico, based in New York)
  • Judy Chicago (born 1939, Chicago, US. based in Belen, New Mexico)
  • Serge Attukwei Clottey (born 1985, Accra, Ghana, based in Accra)
  • Nicholas Galanin (born 1979, Sitka, Alaska, US, based in Sitka)
  • Alicja Kwade (born 1979, Katowice, Poland, based in Berlin)
  • Oscar Murillo (born 1986, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, based in various locations)
  • Christopher Myers (born 1974, New York, US, based in New York)
  • Eduardo Sarabia (born 1976, Los Angeles, US, based in Guadalajara, Mexico)
  • Xaviera Simmons (born 1974, New York, US based in New York)
  • Kim Stringfellow (born 1963, San Mateo, CA, US, based in Joshua Tree)
  • Vivian Suter (born 1949, Buenos Aires, Argentina, based in Panajachel, Guatemala).

Newly-commissioned projects build on themes explored in previous iterations, looking deeper at ideas essential to the sustenance of our future and identity and the histories, realities and possibilities of Greater Palm Springs and its many communities. Imagining the landscape as both an amalgamation of natural forms and a terrain forged by people, the 2021 edition refuses the notion of the desert as homogenous entity. The projects explore many of the issues we face in these difficult times: the history of land rights, ownership and stewardship, the desert as border marked by narratives of migration, social justice and racial demarcations of the West, the gendered landscape and the role of women and children and the creation of new dialogues between regional and global desert experience.

“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,” said Artistic Director Neville Wakefield. “Desert X 2021 seeks to explore this idea of the desert as a place where the marginalized and migratory – whose voices and histories may have struggled to manifest within the dominant discourses of growth and development – can also be heard.”

“For Desert X 2021, we took our cues from the way deserts are formed, from the natural processes that weather their surfaces and expand their geographies,” said Co-curator César García-Alvarez. “Acting upon this place, the projects seek to identify and uplift lesser known and complex stories of immeasurable impact through conversations between the lived experience of people here with those who came before them and the realities that we live in now. We refute the dichotomy of local versus global, and instead champion the nuances that connect both.”

“More so than ever, Desert X 2021 is an exhibition for our times”, said Desert X Founder and President Susan Davis . “The curators have brought together an extraordinary group of international artists who have made compelling works that celebrate the Coachella Valley and its histories while provoking us to explore our commonalities and celebrate our differences.”

At a time when it is challenging to exhibit and experience art in the same way as it was before the global pandemic took hold and, in an effort to make the exhibition and the ideas and conversations provoked by it available to the widest possible audience, the exhibition will be accompanied by a robust series of public and education programs. Among the participants will be artists, curators, members of the community and special guests.

A dedicated Desert X 2021 film, produced by Desert X and presenting sponsor Richard Mille, will premiere globally across multiple platforms to provide free access to the exhibition to audiences around the world. Program details and schedule will be released soon.

Desert X is funded by its board of directors and an international group of individual donors, foundations and sponsors. Richard Mille, a global luxury brand with a long history of involvement with the arts, is the presenting sponsor of the 2021 exhibition reinforcing the brand’s conviction that a close bond naturally exists between watchmaking and art.

Additionally, Gucci will be providing generous support to Desert X this year and introducing a Pit Stop at the exhibition. The Pit Stop will celebrate the recent collaboration between Gucci and The North Face and the spirit of exploration and adventure both brands embody. The Pit Stop will feature a unique geodesic dome welcoming visitors to Desert X. The North Face x Gucci dome installation uses different materials to recall the temporary and transient nature of landscapes, travel, and exploration.

A Desert X Visitor Guide will contain up-to-date information on how to experience the exhibition and its public and education programs safely in compliance with CDC, State and County regulations.

The Desert X 2021 map of artist installations can be found online at www.desertx.org from March 12 and via the Desert X 2021 app.

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