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How to visit Doug Aitken's mind-blowing mirrored sculpture, 'Mirage,' in the Coachella Valley

Written by
Kate Wertheimer

If you didn't get a chance to see Doug Aitken's Electric Earth exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA this past fall (or if you went 10 times and still couldn't get enough), we have good news for you.

In partnership with Desert X, the artist has installed a huge site-specific work in Desert Palisades, where the San Jacinto mountain range slopes into the Coachella Valley. Titled "Mirage," the work is a full-scale sculpture in the shape of a ranch-style house, comprised entirely of mirrors, reflecting and disappearing into the desert landscape.

"'Mirage' is reconfigured as an architectural idea," the artist says in a statement on his website. "The seemingly generic suburban home now devoid of a narrative, its inhabitants, their possessions. This minimal structure now functions entirely in response to the landscape around it. The doors, windows, and openings have been removed to create a fluid relationship with the surrounding environment."

Depending on the angle from which you view it, the work can blend into its surroundings or reflect an entirely different scene on its exterior walls. Inside, the mirrors create a kaleidoscope effect. Each angle and time of day, and day itself, provides a different viewing experience. "At night the distant lights refract to create a universe of stars," the website poetically states. "On a tranquil afternoon the sky is transformed into banks of blue fragmented by slices of clouds. There is no fixed perspective or correct interpretation. Each experience of this living artwork will be unique."


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The exhibition, curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, opened on February 25, will remain on view through October 31 (so yes, you can visit on your way to or from Coachella 2017), and is free to the public.

So how to find it? Road trip time. There's no address, just coordinates (33°50'59.6"N 116°33'57.5"W), but directions are quite simple: Take the I-10 East to Highway 111 (Palm Springs exit). Remain on Highway 111 for approximately 11 miles (it will eventually become North Palm Canyon Drive). Turn right on West Racquet Club Road, follow the road to the guard house, and receive further directions at the guard house.

Viewing hours are as follows:

February 25-March 3, 2017: Daily starting at 3:30pm and ending at sunset

March 4-April 30, 2017: Daily starting at 7am and ending at sunset

May 1–October 31, 2017: Further information after April 30

Admission is free, but in order to "maximize visitors’ intimacy of the artwork," occupancy is limited to 15 people at any given time, so you may have to wait once you arrive. Times of particular note to view the artwork, no surprise, are sunrise and sunset.

There are also special viewing times during which the exhibit will be open to the public until midnight:

Sunday, March 12 (full moon)

Monday, March 20 (spring equinox)

Monday, March 27 (new moon)

Monday, April 10 (full moon)

Wednesday, April 26 (new moon)

Wednesday, May 10 (full moon)

Thursday, May 25 (new moon)

Friday, June 9 (full moon)

Tuesday, June 20 (summer solstice)

Friday, June 23 (new moon)

Saturday, July 8 (full moon)

Sunday, July 23 (new moon)

Monday, August 7 (full moon)

Saturday, August 12-Sunday, August 13 (Perseid Meteor Shower)

Monday, August 21 (total solar eclipse and new moon)

Check out a video of the exhibit being installed below, plus some more of the amazing Instagram shots people are already taking. For further information, visit


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