Spread across the valley east of Los Angeles, famed for the annual Coachella music festival, the installations and sculptures offer moments of colour, pause and reflection in remote locations – from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea.
One of the boldest statements is American artist Ruby’s monolithic fluorescent orange block, titled Specter. The cuboid volume creates a gap in the mountain vistas, alluding to an edifice or an apparition, and is coloured like a safety warning.
“The bright, geometric sculpture creates a jarring optical illusion, resembling a Photoshopped composite or collage, as if something has been removed or erased from the landscape,” said a project description.
Also using coloured blocks, Danish collective Superflex’s Dive-In sculpture is a reminder that the valley was once underwater. Four cuboids are arranged in a Stonehenge-like fashion, with surfaces akin to marine coral in both texture and tone, and the structure occasionally acts as a venue for film screenings.
“Dive-In merges the recognition that global warming will drastically reshape the habitat of our planet with another more recent extinction: the outdoor movie theatre,” a project description said.
Mexican artist Camil has installed one of two arches, formed from rebar and painted in rainbow hues, close to Rancho Mirage. The other is located on the other side of the US-Mexico border, in Baja, and the Lover’s Rainbow project is intended to shed light on current immigration policies.
A giant video screen erected by Irish artist Gerrard plays footage of his black-smoke flag – a digital simulation he produced in 2017 to highlight the threat of carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere.
The Western Flag footage is set against a barren oil field in Spindletop, Texas, and is aligned with the times of the day so it plays sunset at the same time as the real surroundings.
“The simulation has no beginning or end and runs by software that calculates each frame of the animation in real time as it is needed,” said a description.
Terracotta-toned breeze blocks – some punched with circular holes – form a pair of oval-shaped paddocks that Julian Hoeber has built side by side.
Katie Ryan has made an industrial-looking palm tree with translucent fronds that move in the breeze, while Ivan Argote has placed sets of concrete steps to provide elevated views of the landscape.
A total of 18 artists and groups have contributed to the biennial. The others include Armando Lerma, Steve Badgett and Chris Taylor, Cara Romero, Cecilia Bengolea, Eric Mack, Gary Simmons, Iman Issa, Mary Kelly, Nancy Baker Cahill, and Postcommodity.
The Desert X installations are on view from 9 February to 21 April 2019. Visitor information is available from hubs in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio, as well as online.
Photography is by Lance Gerber, courtesy of Desert X.
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Ford said it will exit the commercial heavy-duty truck business after it stops building its heavy-duty Cargo lineup at the Brazil plant. It will also end production and sales of the F-4000 and F-350 pickups and Fiesta subcompact sedan in that region.