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Lines in the Sand

September 8, 2018 – August 11, 2019
Palm Springs Art Museum

Lines in the Sand explores the history of the desert through our relationship to the land, environment, and community. Drawn from the permanent collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, the exhibition highlights the museum’s founding collections of historical Indigenous art, depictions of the California desert through painting, and contemporary art inspired by the physical and cultural environment of the state.


Focusing on the practices of artists, Lines in the Sand  juxtaposes the historical with the contemporary, revealing continued affinities and shared perspectives across time. For example, visionary desert painter Agnes Pelton’s work from the 1930s-40s is shown in proximity to the work of California Light and Space artists, illuminating a shared interest in transcendent light. An abstract landscape of the San Jacinto Mountains by Eva Slater from 1960 featuring undulating woven forms, is shown in dialogue with baskets produced by Native people, pointing to shared forms and intersecting histories; Slater collected Native basketry and published a book on the subject. The exhibition also features a newly commissioned work by Gerald Clarke inspired by his Cahuilla heritage and contemporary issues for Indigenous communities.

This presentation is organized by Christine Giles, Curator, and David Evans Frantz, Associate Curator.

Image: Agnes Pelton, Future, 1941 75th Anniversary gift of Gerald E. Buck in memory of Bente Buck, Best Friend and Life Companion