WORDSMITHS AND PHILOSOPHERS... and adventurers and dreamers have long compared arid, nearly empty landscapes to blank canvases. But, of course, and this does not go without saying, so say it, we shall, there is this: An arid place isn't empty, not by a long shot, not with its scrubby shrubs and darting lizards and strangely shaped rocks and the million other items/ideas that can be found there. A desert is, in fact, an ideal canvas, though not empty, for some large-scope notions of the most creative, envelope-pushing sort. And a desert-delightful region in California, the Coachella Valley, in fact, is playing just that epic canvas through the end of April. The event? It's Desert X 2017, a widespread "curated exhibition" involving a host of artists and their drive-to-them "site-specific" artworks. Meaning that you won't get a glass of Chablis and walk around a gallery to see the show; you'll be on the road, around Palm Springs and other desert resort cities, where you'll seek out each fresh piece for a new and singular experience.
SUNDAY, APRIL 30... is the final day of the experience, which means that the installations and pieces will remain up through the big music festivals that arrive in the valley during the fourth month of the year. Many pieces are outdoors, do note, and some are inside, and the "established and emerging artists" address a host of topical issues with urgency, wisdom, and humor. The artists include Doug Aitken, Jennifer Bolande, and several innovative thinkers who are adept at translating dreams, the news, love, local issues, and more into pieces that are whimsical and thought-provoking and memorable. The desert, of course, is not a blank canvas but a very complex portrait, and Desert X is adding to the landscape's eternal story with a multi-week, big-idea'd celebration of art.