Art21 Extended Play

Deeper into the Desert with Andrea Zittel

CA Truckhead (2004) by Sarah Vanderlip on the High Desert Test Sites parcel “Behind the Bail Bonds.” Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography: Zach Voytas

“We’ve always tried to help artists find situations to make their work, where it can retain that quality of unknowableness.” —Andrea Zittel

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features High Desert Test Sites, a non-profit organization co-founded by Andrea Zittel that supports immersive experiences and exchanges between artists, critical thinkers, and general audiences. In late-2014, High Desert Test Sites (HDTS), known for hosting events in far-flung corners of the American southwest, programmed a day of talks and installations at the site of a former health resort in Zzyzx, California. Aurora Tang, managing director of HDTS and curator for the event, selected Zzyzx because it provokes a sense of discovery and exploration. “It’s all about water,” adds Zittel, “in the sense that being in the desert is only possible because of water.” In addition to off-site programming, HDTS owns over 100 acres of land near Joshua Tree, California where they allow artists to insert their work directly into the desert landscape.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producers: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Camera: Zach Voytas. Sound: Ian Forster. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Alyse Emdur & Sant Khalsa. Additional Photography Courtesy: High Desert Test Sites & Andrea Zittel. Special Thanks: Rob Fulton, Aurora Tang & Vanesa Zendejas. Theme Music: Peter Foley.