Desert X 2019: These are the must-see art installations by contemporary artists including Sterling Ruby that are drawing crowds to Coachella Valley
Hundreds of thousands flocked to the arid landscape of Southern California's Coachella Vallery in 2017 to view Doug Aitken's mirrored glass house among other monumental installations that were part of Desert X's inaugural edition. This February, the public art biennale returns with a roster of 19 distinguished contemporary artists who have placed their mirage-like structures across a 55-mile radius that stretches beyond the US-Mexico border, all discoverable through a digital treasure map. From an ethereal palm tree to an acid-orange container, we've picked out a few of the most imaginative artworks below.
Sterling Ruby, Specter
Known for his collaboration with Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons during his short-lived tenures at Christian Dior and Calvin Klein, American multimedia artist Sterling Ruby's eye-searing fluorescent-orange monolith takes the form of a shipping container and jarringly stands against the barren environment with a hazardous glow.
Cara Romero, Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert
Plastered on huge billboards along the Interstate 10 highway, the Native American photographer's latest series responds to the ancestral lands of the Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Serrano and Mojave people. The images feature four young figures who bring visibility to indigenous cultures and histories that are embedded in the landscape.
Cecilia Bengolea, Mosquito Net
Inspired by philosopher Baruch Spinoza, the Argentinian artist's free-standing sculptural work and performance piece in the Salton Sea articulates the spirit of nature through hybridized animals in street dance poses.
John Gerrard, Western Flag
This real-time, computer-generated digital stimulation depicts the site of 'Lucas Gusher', the world's first major oil find in Texas in 1901 that has since been exhausted. The thick black smoke that billows as a flag is a stark reminder of the rampant depletion of natural resources and its detrimental effects on climate change.
Kathleen Ryan, Ghost Palm
One of California's most iconic plant species, the desert fan palm tree gets reconstructed with Victorian-era windowpanes, a mid-century modern chandelier and glittering plastics that catch the sunrays with a magical crystalline effect.