Desert X is produced by The Desert Biennial, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in California, conceived to produce recurring international contemporary art exhibitions that activate desert locations through site-specific installations by acclaimed international artists. Its guiding purposes and principles include presenting public exhibitions of art that respond meaningfully to the conditions of desert locations, the environment and indigenous communities; promoting cultural exchange and education programs that foster dialogue and understanding among cultures and communities about shared artistic, historical, and societal issues; and providing an accessible platform for artists from around the world to address ecological, cultural, spiritual, and other existential themes.
To create and present international contemporary art exhibitions that engage with desert environments through site-specific installations by acclaimed artists from around the world.
The history of Desert X is short but mighty. It is an organization founded on the love of contemporary art and its ability to create cross-cultural dialogue while simultaneously engaging audiences and artists who find the walls of museums and galleries somewhat stifling. Its mission has always been ambitious, seeking to present curated exhibitions of site specific work by international artists who can amplify the beauty of the desert environment, while also creating a visual response to issues of vast importance to today’s global citizenry.
From its beginning, the organization has called on all its audiences to be brave, engage their sense of adventure, and open their hearts as they seek the various art installations, paying attention not only to their physicality but also to the stories they tell: emotionally, historically, or socially.
The first Desert X took place in 2017 and included 16 artists who created works for locations from Whitewater Preserve to Coachella. The exhibition and each of the artists received grand acclaim. The second edition, in 2019, featured 18 artists whose works again stretched across the Valley but this time venturing to its southern reaches with installations around, in, and on the Salton Sea. In 2020, the organization engaged in its first exhibition outside the United States and helped realize a project in the AlUla desert of Saudi Arabia bringing together artists from across that region as well as those from Europe and the U.S. In 2021, with a global pandemic and racial and political protests as backdrops, Desert X 2021 offered an exhibition of 12 works for our time.