Imagine traveling to an art exhibit only to find it defaced with graffiti. Some visitors experienced that with one of the most popular Desert X exhibits, Sterling Ruby’s exhibit, “Specter.”
“I love this color, I feel like this hue was selected for whatever reason and it’s so sad someone would try to put a heart on it,” Blake Lopez, a visitor, said.
Someone drew graffiti in the shape of a heart on the exhibit on Friday, according to Desert X Director Lyn Winter. Immediately, they sent a crew to repair it on Saturday.
“No one wants to see what people are scribbling all over the place,” another visitor said.
Lopez said this type of defacement is frustrating and takes away from the artist’s intention.
“We live in a digital world where people want to create their own experiences or make something unique to them,” he said. “I feel like there’s this fine line between what’s yours and what’s someone else’s.”
All of the Desert X exhibits experience thousands of visitors coming from across the world during the week it’s open.
“What people need to realize is that we should appreciate the art for what it is and how the artist created it and not for what we want,” Lopez said.
The heart graffiti wasn’t the first time someone tampered with a Desert X exhibit this year. An old rundown gas station near the Salton Sea was the site of “Halter.” A few weeks ago, it was lit on fire and burned down to a few charred bits and pieces.
“A lot of people come here and don’t realize that it’s not for them, it’s actually for an artist and they have a vision for what that is and we should respect that vision,” Lopez said. “It’s not necessarily for our own personal gain for the ‘likes’, so to speak.”
To help with the cost of things such as art repairs, Desert X is starting a membership program called Desert Xtra. The memberships start at $25 a month.
PHOTO COURTESY: INSTAGRAM- @COACHELLAVALLEY