Doug Aitken

Doug Aitken, “Mirage”’, Desert X Art Festival, 2017, Coachella, California

“Mirage” by Doug Aitken is one of 16 artworks scattered around the Coachella Valley as part of the inaugural Desert X, a contemporary-art festival organized by curator Neville Wakefield. It takes the form of a single-story ranch house in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains that is wrapped inside and out in mirrored surfaces. From certain angles it disappears almost completely into the landscape it endlessly reflects.

The piece is located in a high-end residential subdivision that is among the last major undeveloped parcels of hillside land in the valley. Aitken describes “Mirage” as a study of the relationship between the architecture of the typical suburban ranch house (and its forebears, including residential designs by Frank Lloyd Wright and others) and the natural landscape that it both relies upon and threatens to destroy.

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