The Coachella Valley-based contemporary art biennial Desert X has announced Monday that it would collaborate on an exhibition in Saudi Arabia in early 2020, according to the New York Times.
Desert X consisted of large-scale site-specific works staged across the Coachella Valley in 2017 and again in 2019. The new exhibition, Desert X AlUla, will be held in northwestern Saudi Arabia and funded by the government’s Royal Commission for AlUla.
Desert X founder and board president Susan Davis said the collaboration was an opportunity to generate “a new dialogue, one that reaches across boundaries and borders.”
“Our mission has always been to create a platform for conversations around art and to welcome a multiplicity of voices,” Davis told the New York Times. “Ultimately, it’s a way to have direct communication--artists to artists, artists to individuals, artists to the bigger audiences. Ultimately, we see our involvement as a way to engage with individuals, not to isolate them.”
AlUla is a historic area that the Royal Commission envisions as an “open museum “ focused on heritage, nature and the arts. Archaeological and historical sites are being conserved, representatives have said. The area is home to the country’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Hegra.
Desert X AlUla is part of the crown prince’s economic, cultural and social reform plan, called Vision 2030, which includes opening the region to tourism. Last week, Saudi Arabia announced a new visa program that will allow tourists from 49 countries, who aren’t traveling for religious purposes, to enter the country and stay up to three months.