As they do, this week went from “great” to “get me out of here” overnight. And, so, I got out; out of my apartment, city, and head and into the desert and the awesome Desert X art show. Desert X consists of 14 installation art pieces in the desert between Whitewater, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, all the way east to Coachella. And, being the Thursday after the Coachella music festival, I avoided both traffic and crowds and had much of the area almost to myself, a small miracle anywhere in Southern California.
I left LA at 9 this morning and headed to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs to pick up a map of Desert X. Arranged like a scavenger hunt, the maps give you the addresses, intersections or GPS coordinates of each installation but it’s up to you which you want to see and how you do it. And, since getting in my car with good music, my camera, and the goal of finding something interesting and/or beautiful to look at is basically my favorite thing in the world, this hunt was a dream.
After leaving the Ace, I headed for the Palm Springs Art Museum and Jeffrey Gibson’s tall piece in the Sculpture Garden. It was underwhelming and I quickly left for Rancho Mirage and Sunnyland. Little did I know that Sunnyland is a famed retreat for Presidents and other important people and is where former President Obama presented the Chinese President with a carved redwood bench in 2013 (I sat on it).
There, I saw Lita Albuquerque’s (nice last name Burqueños!) piece titled Earth.
From Sunnyland I headed to Palm Desert and Claudia Comte’s Curves and Zigzags. It hurt my eyes to look at from afar, strobing and giving me a bit of vertigo, but in a good way!
But, the highlight of the day turned out to be Doug Aitken’s Mirage. Located on a hill in Palm Springs, in a residential subdivision where, judging by the no parking signs, the neighbors didn’t seem happy about the crowds flooding into their neighborhood. Models, hipsters, and fellow Instagramers were just beginning to descend, but I got there fifteen minutes before their 3:30 opening time and was able to avoid some of the masses. It was the coolest. A house made completely out of mirrors, inside and out, reflecting all.
Sometimes all it takes is a good scavenger art hunt, or day trip, to both get you out of your head and to get your own creative juices flowing once again.
Back in LA now and all is good.
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