With headline-making headliners including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Kygo, and Jamiroquai, music takes center stage at Coachella—but art, in recent years, has become an important component of the experience as well.
Ever since organizers introduced architectural installations in 2009, artists have created increasingly ambitious, Instagram-friendly artworks for flower-crowned revelers to experience at the Southern Californian festival. (Alexandra Peers recently talked to one artist who has made a career out of working with the celebrated festival.)
This year, Coachella’s official art program includes a variety of major new installations to accentuate the sun-soaked party in the desert. These include a shimmering silver grotto by New York artist Randy Polumbo and Katie Stout’s augmented reality installation, Display this Oasis, which allows you to experience a fantastical fountain in the desert, as well as a variety of “Returning Coachella Favorites,” like Robert Bose’s Balloon Chains. Here are three that have people talking.
Inspired by sunrise and sunset, UK-based design studio Newsbubstance created SPECTRA, a seven-story monumental structure featuring 300 colored Plexiglas windows and 6,000 LED lights. Visitors are invited to explore the inside and enjoy the stunning views of the desert valley from the observation deck.
Last year, Robert Bahr and Rosario Marquardt of Miami’s R&R Studios attracted major attention with their installation Bésame Mucho; this year the duo returns with SUPERNOVA. During the day the massive installation stands out as a star-shaped multicolored sculpture featuring 12 forty-foot points, but at night it comes alive as a colorful shining artwork.
One of the most eye-catching works is an enormous mesh wire sculpture of a baroque-style building by Edoardo Tresoldi. When lit from the inside by night, ETHEREA turns into a shimmering monument.
Also on view is Salvadoran artist Simón Vega’s Palm-3 World Station, inspired by Cold War era space travel and the artist’s Central American heritage, from his “Tropical Space Proyectos” series. The spectacular, 150-foot-long work, inspired by the space station Mir, straddles the humorous middle ground between high-tech and analogue, with some 30 modules to explore in all.
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