Artist Jennifer Bolande Desert X Installation Uses Billboards to Highlight Nature’s Beauty
A new art installation in Coachella Valley dares to advertise one of the area’s most overlooked features: the natural landscape.
Artist Jennifer Bolande erected a series of billboards along the Gene Autry Trail that feature large, high-definition photographs of the mountains behind them. When viewed from the right angle, each billboard blends seamlessly into its natural background. Bolande, who is also an art professor at UCLA, was an early pioneer in exploring the relationship between photography and objects and calling into question the differences between the two.
Her latest installation, titled “Visible Distance,” is part of an outdoor exhibition of site-specific art projects called Desert X, and was inspired by classic highway billboard advertisements. In particular, Bolande’s project was informed by Burma Shave’s iconic sequential placement of road signs, which could only be read properly from a moving car.
When people see Bolande’s billboards jump out at them from the landscape, they’ll probably be a little disoriented, but the goal is to make them more observant, and mindful, of their surroundings.
Scroll down to see some photos from “Visible Distance.”