Suburban Mirage

09 : 03 : 2017 Desert X : Hollow Middle : Doug Aitken

California – An art installation in the Coachella Valley explores the cultural value of the suburban American home.

  • Aitken’s artwork takes the form of a standard suburban American home
  • The piece is part of Desert X, an exhibition that explores the context and concept of the desert
Mirage by Doug Aitken for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber Mirage by Doug Aitken for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber
Curves and Zigzags by Claudia Comte for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber Curves and Zigzags by Claudia Comte for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber
Visible Distance by Jennifer Bolande for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber Visible Distance by Jennifer Bolande for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber
The Circle of Land and Sky by Phillip K. Smith for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber The Circle of Land and Sky by Phillip K. Smith for Desert X, California. Photography by Lance Gerber

Created by artist Doug Aitken, the Mirage sculpture recreates the form of a ranch-style home, common to suburban enclaves throughout America. The structure, situated just outside of Palm Springs, a town notable for its Mid-century modernist architecture, is completely covered in mirrored panels. This enables the house to blend into the landscape.

‘Mirage distils the recognisable and repetitious suburban home into the essence of its lines, reflecting and disappearing into the vast Western landscape,’ Aitken explains. ‘The mass-produced ranch home became a familiar sight across the country, the style filling the American landscape as quickly as each new subdivision was built.’

The artwork is one of 16 pieces that have been installed throughout the Valley as part of the Desert X exhibition, an exploration of the context and concept of the desert.

The Big Picture

Following the 2016 shock presidential election result, artists are using their work to better understand America’s disenfranchised middle classes. Look out for our forthcoming Hollow Middle report, due to be published this spring.

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