It’s Coachella season again, and this year, the candy-colored, sky-scraping visual delights seem to have been designed for maximum Instagram appeal. Sure, the music fest is most widely known for its megawatt headliners and flower-crowned audience. But since the introduction of architectural installations in 2009, art has added its own high-definition flourishes to the bacchanal. According to the numbers, the participating artists are reaching an unprecedented number of fans: Tickets to this year’s festival range from $375 to $530 and the event is slated to exceed the 198,000 tickets sold in 2016, generating over $94 million. An increasingly international audience also means an even broader demographic for the artists to reach.
This year’s four major installations have surpassed 2016’s in size, and they seem to be geared toward pure entertainment, setting the stage for an oasis of lighthearted whimsy for those who flock to the California desert. In earlier years, some of the works featured more pointed political messages. While there is no overarching theme, one of the works this year, Gustavo Prado’s “Lamp Beside the Golden Door,” invites Coachella selfie-obsessed denizens to look beyond themselves. The artist created a towering apparatus made up of thousands of small mirrors that reflects not just the viewer, but all the people around her.
Below we have a selection of the best of Coachella’s art scene: a Dr. Seuss-esque garden of non-earthly delights, fluorescent Lego trees, a mirror-based selfie-magnet, and a herd of colorfully patterned critters.
Chiaozza Garden by CHIAOZZA: Brooklyn based duo Adam Frezza and Terria Chiao spent three months creating the fantastical botanicals, which stretch across almost an acre of land in California’s Indio Desert.
“Crown Ether” by Olalekan Jeyifous is inspired by the digitized architectural renderings of Nigerian-born Jeyifous. The soaring tree houses are illuminated at night, and according to the artist, serve as a place of respite for worn-out festival goers and a meeting point amidst the throngs of people.
“The Lamp Beside the Golden Door” by Gustavo Prado. The title itself is based on a line from a poem by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, saying, “You are driven to approach the piece for a very selfish and individualistic reason – to see what it does to your own reflection, and what you get is this collection of parts of multiple bodies.”
“is this what bring things into focus” by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. Hulking above the desert landscape are the surreal creatures of Tatham and O’Sullivan, who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2005.
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