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Desert X

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.

Mission

To create and present international contemporary art exhibitions that engage with desert environments through site-specific installations by acclaimed artists from around the world.

History

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 offers an exhibition of 13 works for our time.

Nicholas Galanin, “Never Forget”, Desert X 2021.

Nicholas Galanin, “Never Forget”, Desert X 2021.

Tavares Strachan, “I am”, Desert X 2017. Photo by David Blank

Tavares Strachan, “I am”, Desert X 2017. Photo by David Blank

Sherin Guirguis, “One I Call”, Desert X 2017

Sherin Guirguis, “One I Call”, Desert X 2017

Cara Romero, “Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert”, Desert X 2019

Cara Romero, “Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert”, Desert X 2019

John Gerrard, “Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2014”, Desert X 2019

John Gerrard, “Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2014”, Desert X 2019

Doug Aitken, “Mirage”, Desert X 2017

Doug Aitken, “Mirage”, Desert X 2017

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Team

Jenny Gil
Executive Director

Neville Wakefield
Artistic Director

Bill Misenhimer
Financial Officer

Mara Gladstone
Director of Public Programs & Interpretation

César García-Alvarez
Co- Curator Desert X 2021

Kamil Beski
Production Director

Kate Petty
Production Manager

Caroline Gomez
Administrative Assistant

Trish Gordon
Docent & Education Liaison

Max Finneran
Education Producer

Arslane Merabet
Location Manager

Alisa Becket
VIP Experiences Coordinator

Hunter Martin
Digital Manager

Tara Nuño
Intern

Jada Hunter Reese
Intern

Communications and Media Relations
Lyn Winter, Inc.

Board of Directors

Susan L. Davis
Founder & President

Vicki Hood
Vice President

Dr. Steven Nash
Vice President

Elizabeth Sorensen
Secretary

Linda Usher
Treasurer

Diane V Allen

Alyse Archer-Coité

Steven Biller

Beth Rudin DeWoody

Jamie Kabler

Zoe Lukov

Roswitha Smale

Kelly Wearstler