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  • Catherine Holliss

Going to DesertX to Fill the Bucket

Desert X is a collection of site-specific, temporary art works that were installed in and around Palm Springs, CA. We took a studio field trip to see them and came back inspired and with our creative “buckets” brimming over. It is probably one of the most gratifying collections of artworks we have ever seen.

The first work we saw was Glen Kaino’s "Hollow Earth" which feels as if you are peering into infinity. It was tricky to find and to access: we had a delightful exchange with a passing jogger who showed us how to text for the entry code.

One of the more unique concepts were the three pieces by Jennifer Bolande -- billboards that have photos of the nearby mountain range and are placed to line up perfectly with the real thing as you drive by. How cool to conceive of an artwork that has to be viewed at speed.

A studio favorite was the Philip K Smith "Circle of Land and Sky" – we voted it the most fun to actually interact with and the one most likely to produce a new profile picture on your social media feed.

The last site we visited was Doug Aitkin’s "Mirage"—the mirrored house—that was super-crowded and oddly imperfect. The mirrors were dirty, distorted and had obvious seams to the naked eye but gosh-oh-gosh it was STUNNING in every darned photo we took. That, in and of itself, was interesting: something that was most gratifying when mediated by the digital image. Don't get me wrong: it was gorgeous.

The entire experience of the day was magnified by the once-a-decade super bloom, which was also turning the California desert into fields of flowers as far as the eye could see.

Finally, since we were in the Palm Springs area we had to visit one of our landmark projects, Desert Canopy House, winner of multiple awards and still an all-time favorite of the studio. It seems to get better with every visit, kudos to the owner.

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