The Desert X 2021 exhibition continues through May 16 throughout the Coachella Valley giving viewers an opportunity to enjoy meaningful art installations safely during the pandemic. Most pieces are placed outdoors, with plenty of space around them. 

Nicholas Galanin’s NEVER FORGET

One of the most popular installations is NEVER FORGET (pictured above), by Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, who placed supersized letters, reminiscent of the famous Hollywood sign, that read “Indian Land,” claiming the desert for its true owners. Viewers enjoy taking pictures of this sign, which has as backdrop the dry brown hills that welcome visitors to Palm Springs.

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Serge Attukwei Clottey’s THE WISHING WELL

Another must-see art piece is THE WISHING WELL, by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey. He erected two large cubes covered by woven squares made up of bright yellow plastic gallon bottles used in Ghana to transport water. Aside from its themes of imperialism and environmental justice, this work ties in well with the overall exhibition due to the prime importance of water in this desert area.

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Ghada Amer’s WOMEN’S QUALITIES 2021

Ghada Amer created a circle of flower planters, each of which names a quality that can be used to describe a woman, such as “determined,” “resilient,” and “beautiful.” These planters are located at the Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage, which has plenty of other gorgeous plants and water pools to look at.

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Zahrah Alghamdi’s WHAT LIES BEHIND THE WALLS

Saudi Arabia’s Zahrah Alghamdi built a tall wall in Desert Hot Springs with products both from her country and from our California desert. This is a windy location that’ll require some walking and that will give you gorgeous views of the desert.

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Plan ahead

Although outdoors, two of the most popular works in the exhibit – Alicja Kwade’s PARAPIVOT and Eduardo Sarabia’s THE PASSENGER – require reservations for purposes of crowd control. Visit desertx.org for additional information, reservations, and maps.