Review of the Desert X exhibition for Flaunt Magazine
The CA-111 to palm Springs is a bleached, cracked stretch of highway bordered by scrub brush and the San Jacinto mountains. Like everything in the Coachella Valley – that collection of modernism and sunsets that stretches from the Salton Sea to where the 111 branches from the 10 into the ashen haze – form follows function.
These swathes of desert have long held the imaginations of artists longing to head West. It was here that Ed Ruscha discovered his Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) coming out to California on Route 66 in the late ‘50s. Twentysix, a small book featuring all the photos of fill-up stations that he was left with after taking out all the interesting ones, was the first in a series of 16 limited-run publications including Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965), and Royal Road Test, the latter taking as its subject a Royal Model X typewriter, hurled out the window of a speeding Buick into the California desert.