Desert X 2021

A safe, outdoor art experience, free and open to all

The third edition of Desert X will open on February 6 – April 11, 2021 at sites spanning 40 miles across California’s Coachella Valley. The exhibition will be among the first art experiences in the region since widespread lockdowns and shuttering of arts and cultural institutions due to the global pandemic.

The site-specific exhibition will again be free and out-of-doors, providing a safe visitor experience, while also providing artists with a rare opportunity to present their work to a wide audience at a time when it is challenging to exhibit art in the same way as before the global pandemic took hold.

Curated by returning Artistic Director Neville Wakefield with Co-curator César García-Alvarez, the 2021 edition will present newly-commissioned projects that build on themes explored in previous iterations as well as look deeper at the histories, realities, and possibilities of the Coachella Valley and its many communities. An exciting roster of international artists are creating projects that imagine the desert as both a place and an idea and attempt to create meaningful dialogues between regional and global desert experiences.

Safe, welcoming environment is prioritized

This year, the organization is prioritizing a safe and free visitor experience. “Desert X 2021 is uniquely positioned to provide a model to experience art safely,” said Desert X Executive Director Jenny Gil. “Open-air sites will allow for an adaptable, safe and socially-distanced experience.” Prior to the opening, the organization will release a Desert X visitor guide in compliance with state, county and CDC regulations that will contain up-to-date guidelines and requirements to safely experience the exhibition and the public programs. An enhanced digital experience is planned so that visitors from around the world can explore the exhibition from home.

Desert X welcomes three new Board members

The Desert X Board recently elected three new members, including San Francisco-based Alyse Archer-Coité, who is leading research and special projects for Apple’s industrial design team; Palm Springs-based philanthropist, conservationist and art patron Roswitha Smale; and internationally-recognized, award-winning designer and author Kelly Wearstler.

“At a time when we all long for nourishment from art, Desert X is grateful for the expertise, guidance and contributions of the entire board of directors. We look forward to providing visitors and their families to an art exhibition by some of today’s most important artists as they address the urgent issues of these extraordinary times,” said Desert X Founder and President Susan L. Davis.

Watchmaker Richard Mille joins as Presenting Sponsor

Still from the dance film “Within” by Benjamin Millpied and Thomas Roussel for Richard Mille.

Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, a global luxury brand with a long history of involvement with the arts, will be the presenting sponsor of the 2021 exhibition reinforcing the brand’s conviction that a close bond naturally exists between watchmaking and art.

According to John Simonian, CEO, Richard Mille Americas, “Where our timepieces are tiny universes compared to the site-specific art installations coming to the Coachella Valley, we are all striving in our respective formats to challenge conventions, celebrate cultures, and foster dialogue about larger concepts, including the nature of time itself.” He continued, “We anticipate that attendees will step outside the familiar and interact in a meaningful way with this remarkable time and place.”

Returning cultural partners Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs and Sunnylands Center & Gardens, and media partners artnetThe Desert Sun, Here TV, and Palm Springs Life Magazine join new corporate sponsors Blick Art Materials, Cerámica Suro, Diptyque, Maestro Dobel and Tamarisk Country Club. Additional sponsors will be announced soon.
For more information visit the Desert X website.


Desert X 2021 is funded by its board of directors and an extraordinary group of donors,
foundations and municipalities. Presented by Richard Mille.