Desert X and the Xavier Connection

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Olivia Quagliani

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Desert X and the Xavier Connection

Sterling Ruby,

Sterling Ruby, "Specter," Photo By Christopher Knight

Sterling Ruby, "Specter," Photo By Christopher Knight

Sterling Ruby, "Specter," Photo By Christopher Knight

A popular attraction in the Coachella Valley is Desert X, a collection of art sculptures across the desert. The last time the Coachella Valley had this exhibit was in 2017. Its creators are Neville Wakefield, artistic director; Amanda Hunt, curator; and Matthew Schum, curator. Desert X is back and very colorful this time around. All nineteen exhibits opened to the public on February 9, 2019, and all exhibits will be up until April 21, 2019. Desert X hopes to inspire other artists and provide the desert with a unique attraction.

The art installations spread from Whitewater to the Salton Sea. The nineteen pieces of art include A POINT OF VIEW by Ivan Argote, TERMINAL LAKE EXPLORATION PLATFORM by Steve Badgett and Chris Taylor, REVOLUTIONS by Nancy Baker, MOSQUITO NET by Cecilia Bengolea, LOVER’S RAINBOW by Pia Camil, WESTERN FLAG (SPINDLETOP, TEXAS) 2014 by John Gerrard, GOING NOWHERE PAVILION by Julian Hoeber, BEFORE I BECAME AFRAID by Jenny Holzer, Surrogates by Iman Issa, PEACE IS THE ONLY SHELTER by Mary Kelly, VISIT US IN THE SHAPE OF CLOUDS by Armando Lerma, HALTER by Eric Mack, WORMHOLE by Cinthia Marcelle, IT EXISTS IN MANY FORMS by Postcommodity, JACKRABBIT, COTTONTAIL & SPIRITS OF THE DESERT by Cara Romero, SPECTER by Sterling Ruby, GHOST PALM by Kathleen Ryan, RECAPTURING MEMORIES OF THE BLACK ARK by Gary Simmons, and DIVE-IN by Superflex. All of these exhibits are open to the public regardless of age and are easily accessible.

Hunter Martin, Desert X App designer.

The exhibit has many locations, so those wanting to visit need a map. Luckily, there is a DESERT X app that can be found in any smart device’s app store. In fact, Xavier’s very own Hunter Martin, class of 2019, coded and created the app by himself. The app includes the locations of each installation, the creator, back stories to each piece, a sidebar that gives viewers options such as an event calendar, podcast, visit, the link to the website, the link to the exhibit’s Instagram and Facebook, and a donate option. Currently, the app is rated 4.9 stars out of 5 stars, and is #154 for Travel apps. Hunter Martin’s app was mentioned in an LA Times article called “Review: For Desert X 2019, I drove 198 miles to see 19 artists’ work. Here’s the Best” which was written by Christopher Knight and published on February 23, 2019. Hunter Martin was also interviewed in early February by local news team KESQ. “Martin’s app hit #135 on Apple’s top charts for free travel apps within 12 hours, peaking at #56. It has been downloaded over 6 thousand times already. Martin said he is humbled by the response to the app,” said the article by KESQ. Hunter, a Senior, hopes to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science.

Desert X has only been open to the public a few weeks, and the amount of buzz it has received remains high. Desert X attracts from people across the state and is beneficial to the valley in tourism. Due to its popularity, residents may notice an increase in activity and amount of people on the roads. While there may be more people, the valley will get more attention due to this bi-annual exhibit. Again, Desert X will be open to the public until April 21, 2019. Do not forget to download Hunter Martin’s app before checking out the art!




“SUPERFLEX.” Desert X, 2019,


Knight, Christopher. “Review: For Desert X 2019, I Drove 198 Miles to See 19 Artists’ Work. Here’s the Best.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times,


“Meet the Local High School Student behind the Desert X App.” KESQ, KESQ, 12 Feb. 2019,




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