SCULPTURES IN DESERT X
see the performance and photographs from Temporary Sculptures here
Like a lot of my trips, including my last visit to Desert X in 2019, I was running away from a few feelings. During this trip, I began to realize it was trips like these that actually helped me run into those same feelings I was running away from.
Desert X is very special to me.
It changed my life. It expanded my idea of art; how it can be shown, how it can live, and how art can exist. I fell in love with the sculptures that sat in open space. 2019's Desert X is where I was first inspired to turn my own body into its own sculpture in front of other sculptures, performing my first performance, where I would go on and add performance to my practice.
My relationship with sculpture has changed drastically since my first visit to Desert X. During quarantine I fell more and more in love with it - seeing it was the only form of art I could see safely for months. This Desert X offered me a freeness I was searching for in the arts.
Sculpture allows space for presence, to be present. It is a form of art that offers room to feel instead of think, but also has the power to make you think. It has shown me how to be within my own body and to turn my body into a sculpture.
Here are my reflections about Desert X 2021.
Eduardo Sarabia's The Passenger:
This was my favorite piece. I LOVE mazes and Sarabia gave us a slightly moving triangle maze. I love art that makes me feel like a child and gives us access to that feeling. I love artwork that children love and from what I saw, the children loved it.
I loved the material Sarabia used. The wood held the piece together and petates (traditional rugs woven from palm fibers), allowed it to breathe and move. I felt safe tucked away in these columns. My body flowed through each one until I reached the center, where I was greeted with three corners, each corner containing three giant wooden steps to climb on and overlook the maze and its surroundings.
The Passenger plays off the "Biblical narratives of exodus to the treks of immigrants searching for better tomorrows."
I loved how I felt in here, in every pass-way, every step, inside and outside of it. The piece was alive and I felt alive in it.
Nicholas Galanin's Never Forget:
Wow, what a piece. I love how Galanin's used the iconic Hollywood sign font, questioning land ownership and shifting attention to America's "land of the free" phrase - a phrase that gave and still gives the right for white people to own and occupy land that is not theirs. Galanin's Never Forget "asks settler landowners to participate in the work by transferring land titles and management to local indigenous communities."
I found it ironic that white people were taking selfies and photos in front of this piece...overall I loved this moment of reflection and remembrance.
Zahrah Alghamdi's What Lies Behind the Walls:
Like Sarabia's maze, Alghamdi's monolithic wall offered perspective, each side changing as you moved and as the sun moved. The material is made up of cements, soils, and dyes, all materials that "echoes and synthesizes the traditionally built forms from her country (the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia) with the architectural organization she found in Coachella Valley."
I loved how small I felt engulfed in this sculpture and its' surroundings of the desert and mountains.I loved standing and performing on all four sides of the wall. I appreciated the texture of this piece. What Lies Behind the Wall didn't seem out of place, even at several feet high. It fit right in.
click the arrow to see more photos
click the arrow to see more photos
Xaviera Simmons' Because You Know Ultimately We Will Band A Militia:
Simmons piece was a series of billboards placed on Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs. I will say I under estimated the power of this work before seeing it - thinking of it as less then because it was a billboard instead of an installation / sculpture. As we drove past one billboard I knew I had to pull over and see the rest.
"HOW BOLD OF HER" I thought. How bold of her to say what so many try to ignore or forget...or still believe.
This was a political statement in huge black letters in a place made for and occupied by white people. I love the connection between Simmons piece and Nicholas Galanin's Never Forget regarding land ownership, and who has access to it.
DESERT X 2019
Sterling Ruby, SPECTER, 2019
Superflex, Dive-In, 2019
Julian Hoeber, Going Nowhere Pavilion #01, 2019