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Desert X 2023: Discovering Artistic Marvels in Palm Springs

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Desert X 2023

Every two years, art lovers from around the world come to Palm Springs to witness an artistic spectacle that brings together creativity, nature, and culture. If you're a lover of contemporary art and the desert landscape, then you won't want to miss Desert X 2023. From March 4th - May 7th you can visit the highly anticipated outdoor exhibition that promises to be a remarkable display of creativity, with 11 installations located throughout the Coachella Valley. At Cam Cooke Designs, this is one of our favorite events in the desert; we continue to be inspired by the daring and thought provoking work of the Desert X artists who push the boundaries of what's possible and challenge us to see the world in new ways.

2023 Highlights

Liquid a Place

Torkwase Dyson

Homme Adams Park

72500 Thrush Road, Palm Desert

33.708547, -116.399372

From Desert X: "Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure and architecture. She seeks to uncover new understandings of the potential for more livable geographies, recognizing that many landscapes, infrastructures, and built environments were actively shaped to devalue Black life.

Liquid A Place is part of an ongoing series that started from the premise that we are the water in the room, inviting viewers to consider their bodily interconnection with rivers and oceans that surround us. After all, around 60 percent of our bodies and 70 percent of the planet is water, and these waters circulate across our bodies and the planet as they shift states from solid to liquid to gas. For this iteration of Liquid A Place, Dyson creates a monumental sculpture that is a poetic meditation connecting the memory of water in the body and the memory of the water in the desert."

Sleeping Figure

Matt Johnson

I-10 Exit 110 to Railroad Ave

33.922876, -116.689379

From Desert X: "Renowned for his wry marriages of everyday subjects with raw physical matter, Matt Johnson’s sculptures explore the paradox of visual forms through unorthodox and surprising materials. Whether rendering concentric Hula Hoops in steel to resemble nuclear diagrams or plastic beer cups in painted bronze, Johnson’s sculptures point not only to the gestural potential of consumer experience, but to the primitive connection humans have to materiality.

Conceived at the time when a Japanese-owned, Taiwanese-operated, German-managed, Panamanian-flagged and Indian- manned container behemoth found itself for six days under Egyptian jurisdiction while blocking the Suez Canal, Johnson’s figure speaks to the crumples and breaks of a supply chain economy in distress. Casual and laconic, it overlooks the landscape reminding us that the invisible hand of globalism now connected to its container body has come to rest in the Coachella Valley."

No. 1225 Chainlink

Rana Begum

74184 Portola Road, Palm Desert

33.775917, -116.368694

From Desert X: "Rana Begum is a British-Bangladeshi artist whose work blurs boundaries between painting, sculpture, design and architecture. Her works absorb and reflect varied densities of light to produce an experience for the viewer that is both temporal and sensorial, with a unique style of rhyming geometry and color.

Responding to the ubiquity of the chain-link fence as a pattern spread across the Coachella Valley — a material that is meant to protect but also carries associations of violence — Begum diffuses the material’s role as a divider through her manipulation of its form and color. We notice how light and air, sand and water, as well as people, can filter through her cloud-like pavilion, which offers paths of expansive escape rather than reductive confinement. Constantly changing with the movement of the sun and the visitors inside of it, the work emphasizes that nothing in life is static; everything, from the world outside to our emotions within, is in a continual state of flux.


Gerald Clarke

James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center

480 W. Tramview Road, Palm Springs

33.868051, -116.553720

From Desert X: "Gerald Clarke is an artist, university professor, cowboy and Cahuilla tribal leader. As an educator, Clarke understands the role that games can play in leading people to obtaining knowledge that they might have been hesitant to seek on their own. Employing the language of traditional Cahuilla basket weaving and American board games, the artist creates a monumental sculpture of a gameboard in the desert that immerses visitors in the natural and cultural history of Native Americans in the Coachella Valley. Catalyzing active learning, the maze-like structure invites visitors to walk on it and move according to instructions driving a game of cards, rewarding the player with new ways of viewing and understanding the landscape."

To view all installation locations check out the interactive map on the Desert X website here.

About Desert X

Desert X was founded in 2017 as a non-profit organization with the goal of creating an artistic experience that explores the intersection of art and nature, while also engaging with issues relevant to the local community and beyond. Since then, the event has gained global attention, attracting visitors who come to experience the unique blend of natural beauty and creative expression that Desert X offers.

Desert X has a history of featuring well-known artists who have created installations that have left a lasting impact on the art world. In the inaugural edition of Desert X in 2017, Swiss artist Claudia Comte created "Curves and Zig Zags," a colorful installation that transformed a desert hillside into a playful geometric landscape. In 2019, British artist Gary Simmons created "Brick House," a sculpture of a house made entirely of cinder blocks, referencing the architecture of affordable housing in the US and the ongoing debate surrounding immigration policy.

Other notable artists who have participated in Desert X include Doug Aitken, Jenny Holzer, and Sterling Ruby, among others. Their installations have challenged visitors to think deeply about issues such as climate change, social justice, and human relationships with the environment.

Desert X is more than just an art exhibition; it's a celebration of the desert landscape and the unique culture of the Coachella Valley. The event features a wide range of programs, including tours, artist talks, and educational events, aimed at engaging visitors with the local community and promoting a greater understanding of the complex issues that affect the region. If you're an art lover or simply curious about the intersection of nature and culture, be sure to visit Desert X 2023.



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