Installation by artist Lita Albuquerque

Art of the Steal

The contemporary fine-art fair returns, with curios for every collector.

Shana Dambrot Arts & Entertainment

Installation by artist Lita Albuquerque

Art Palm Springs returns to the Convention Center Feb. 16–19, anchored by Modernism Week, which features exhibitions, architecture and design tours, and a host of related events throughout Greater Palm Springs.

A number of venues return for the event’s sixth edition: Throckmorton Fine Art is back with its integration of pre-Columbian and Eastern artifacts with modern and contemporary visual art; so is Artspace Warehouse of Los Angeles, which specializes in affordable contemporary works by emerging artists from around the world. Artspace’s Claudia Deutsch says its third year at the fair will highlight artists from the United States, Germany, Australia, and Italy.

“We believe that it is the best art fair in Southern California in terms of size, quality, and selection of art and galleries,” she says.

Peter Blake Gallery, which has appeared every year except 2016, returns with a major installation of works by the renowned interdisciplinary artist Lita Albuquerque, with whom he has worked for 15 years, and who is being honored as the fair’s Artist of the Year.

“Our booth this year really isn’t a booth,” says Blake. “It’s a curated installation project Lita is putting together with ideas regarding her practices in land art, studio work, performance, and video, and how it ultimately all comes together.”

Albuquerque isn’t revealing details until the show, but given her career-long relationship with the desert environment, expect the epic. Honored as Art Palm Springs’ Arts Patron of the Year is Donna MacMillan. The philanthropist is also an avid collector whose wide-ranging interests include classic and contemporary art, decorative arts, interior design, fashion, and architecture.

Among the dozens of artists to showcase their work are sculptor Tim Shockley of Myers Kovich and Maria Elena Kravitz; “visual artist” Barbara Gothard and Ariel Vargassal of Jorge Mendez Gallery; sculptor Chul Hyun Ahn, who focuses primarily on light, of C Grimaldis Gallery; painter and printmaker Emmi Whitehorse and nature painter Chris Richter of Chiarucaro Gallery; illustrator Rose Blake of Rebecca Hossack Gallery; and Roger Reutimann, Sushe Felix, and Tracy Felix of William Havu Gallery.

“The culture of Palm Springs never stops evolving,” notes Blake. “The fair is really about the social community of like-minded people with common interests. In many ways, its strength is its atmosphere.”

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Agnes Pelton Society
Walking Tour

Agnes Pelton (1881-1961) was one of the greats in the regional painting movement known as the Smoketree School — a 20th-century plein-air landscape aesthetic with elements of Impressionism and a focus on line and color that evokes the unique qualities of the High Desert.

Pelton was brought up in European and eastern U.S. climes and steeped in the influences of the avant-garde art world. When she first encountered this part of the American West, she fell in love with it and spent her last 30 years living and painting in Cathedral City. Pelton’s evocative palette and gift for rendering the luminous intensity of the open desert made her one of the most beloved voices of her time.

Agnes Pelton

In recent years, the Agnes Pelton Society has produced the popular annual walking tour of historic Cathedral City Cove houses and artist studios. Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the tour kicks off at Pelton’s home studio before moving to the locations that inspired her paintings and continue to inspire new generations of painters as well as sculptors, photographers, and folk artists.

The neighborhood features a range of architectural styles from historic adobe to pre-war and midcentury modern. In addition to working artist studios, the tour stops will also host an eclectic variety of live music and dance performances in their gardens and grounds.