Phillip K Smith Cylinders

Must-See Art

Feast your eyes on colorful lights, surprising sculptures, and a world of fine art throughout Greater Palm Springs.

Steven Biller Arts & Entertainment, Current PSL

Phillip K Smith Cylinders

Phillip K. Smith III is known for his massive artworks made with mirrors and brightly colored LEDs, but early in his 20-year exploration of light and shadow, the Palm Desert–based artist created this series of Cylinders with wooden stakes. See how they all tie together in Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Change, a mid-career survey of the Smith’s work, through May 7, 2023, at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Phillip K. Smith III: Light + Change

Palm Springs Art Museum
Through May 7, 2023

Surely the blockbuster exhibition of the season, this eye-popping show surveys almost 20 years of Phillip K. Smith III’s colorful, illuminated works of art. The homegrown artist — born in L.A., raised in Indio, and inspired by the daily phenomena in the desert sky — went viral in 2013 with Lucid Stead, his ephemeral monument to the desert light. He outfitted a ramshackle homestead cabin on a remote 5 acres near Joshua Tree with polished mirrors replacing the door, windows, and every other horizontal beam to reflect the surrounding landscape by day and project fields of color by night.

Phillip K Smith Bent Lozenge

“Bent Lozenge 2:1” (2022).

Phillip K Smith Silver Portal

Phillip K. Smith III with “Flat Portal 4:2” (2022).

“It’s about four ideas: light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change,” Smith told Palm Springs Life. “It’s about slowing down, stopping, and being quiet so you can see and listen.”

Lucid Stead instigated successive series of studio works, including Lucid Stead Elements and Four  Windows and a Doorway, as well as monumental public installations for Desert X, the Coachella music festival, and other sites near and far.

Now, Smith’s hometown museum honors him with an exhibition, presented throughout four galleries, showcasing free-standing and wall-mounted works, as well as immersive installations.

Lynne Mapp Drexler

Rubine Red Gallery

Women in abstract expressionism have a long history of working in the shadows of their famous husbands — Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan, Elaine de Kooning — and other male artists. Some have been elevated into the canon over the past 25 years, but many are still being discovered. Artists like Lynn Mapp Drexler, a little-known painter who wowed the art world earlier this year when one of her vibrant canvases hammered for $1.2 million at a Christie’s auction. Drexler, who studied with Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann, asserted that colors have scales like musical notes. 

Lynne Mapp Drexler Untitled Purple

Lynne Mapp Drexler’s “Untitled Purple” at Rubine Red Galler

She worked in obscurity for most of her career and is among the second generation of ab-ex painters being written back into the movement’s history. Monhegan Museum of Art & History in Maine mounted her first solo museum exhibition posthumously in 2008. In Palm Springs, you can see a selection of Drexler’s vibrant canvases at Red Rubine Gallery.
American Framing

American Framing at Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center.

american Framing

Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center
Jan. 12–July 2, 2023

With the exhibition American Framing, the museum’s Architecture and Design Center examines one of the country’s most overlooked yet common construction systems. The show — developed by Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner for the U.S. pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennial of Architecture — presents models, furniture, photographs, and a full-scale wood structure that “together argue that a profound and powerful future for design can be conceived out of an ordinary past.” In the early 19th century, softwood construction emerged as a pragmatic building system that was accessible to settlers with limited resources.

It has remained the dominant system, with more than 90 percent of new homes framed in wood. This exhibition celebrates its ease of use, light weight, and affordability — qualities that introduce a flexibility for form, labor, composition, class, sensibility, access, and style.
Carole A. Feuerman

Melissa Morgan Fine Art

A hyperrealist sculptor known for her large-scale swimmers, Carole Feuerman creates art that stops viewers in their tracks. Over four decades, she has rendered monumental, life-size, and miniature works in bronze, resin, and marble in a labor-intensive process where she works in wax and bronze, later applying multiple coats of primer, paint, and finishes.

Carole Feuerman

Carole A. Feuerman at Melissa Morgan Fine Art.

“Swimming and water have fascinated me for as long as I can remember,” she has said, “and as a result, have become the essence of my inspiration for my pieces.” At the heart of her sculptures are visual stories of strength, survival, and balance.

Read next: Museums, galleries, theaters, and murals to check out in town.

Petra Cortright

Petra Cortright at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Petra Cortright B Shirleys

Palm Springs Art Museum
Through March 26, 2023

Los Angeles–based artist Petra Cortright scours the internet for source material to create her vibrant, detail-rich portrait and landscape “paintings.” The results are as pretty as impressionism but as contemporary as the cool aluminum on which she often prints them. 

Associated with what some art-world folks are calling “post-internet” digital art, Cortright is having a career-high moment. In addition to Palm Springs Art Museum mounting her first U.S. museum exhibition, Petra Cortright: sapphire cinnamon viper fairy, MoMA in New York recently acquired one of her pioneering self-portrait videos.

Early or new, her works exert a powerful physical presence. As she puts it, “While the work originates from an endless digital realm, my decision to ‘save as’ finalizes the painting and gives it a unique place in the ‘real world’ forever. I have a deep love of physical things and physical spaces.”

Lawrence Schiller


In 1962, French magazine Paris Match invited photographer Lawrence Schiller to shoot Marilyn Monroe on the set of the movie Something’s Got to Give. The actress — no longer the ingénue Norma Jean, but the radiant and glamorous Marilyn — famously dived into the set’s swimming pool with a flesh-colored bathing suit and came up naked. Schiller captured her in subtle but seductive poses as she emerged from the pool dripping with water. 

Lawrence Schiller Marilyn Monroe

Lawrence Schiller at Hohmann. 

His photographs helped immortalize the sex symbol who captured the imagination of all America.
Desert X Eduardo Sarabia

Eduardo Sarabia’s “Passenger” at Desert X  2021.

Desert X

Various locations
March 4–May 7, 2023

You might remember the “mirror house” (Doug Aitken’s “Mirage”), the staircases near the Salton Sea (Ivan Argote’s “A Point of View”), the bust of John F. Kennedy in a bomb shelter (Will Boone’s “Monument”), or any of the other awe-inspiring art installations created for this valleywide exhibition of site-specific art.

Desert X, a biennial spectacle that debuted in 2017, returns for its fourth edition, with artistic director Neville Wakefield joined by co-curator Diana Campbell. We’ll have to wait until February for the list of participating artists from around the world. When the show opens, you can download a map, read about the artists, and check the schedule of public programs at
Intersect Palm Springs

Palm Springs Convention Center
Feb. 9–12, 2023

About 60 galleries from near and far converge on the convention center with an eye-popping selection of modern and contemporary art in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, video, and works on paper. Look for California minimalism (Peter Blake Gallery) and hard-edge paintings (Louis Stern Fine Art), pop art (Ikon Ltd.), light sculptures by Anthony James (Melissa Morgan Fine Art), and much more. The program includes an opening-night reception, artist talks, panel discussions, and in-fair exhibitions featuring contemporary desert abstraction, curated by Bernard Leibov of BoxoPROJECTS and a performance and spoken word series organized by Shana Nys Dambrot.

Sara Genn

Sara Genn, “Everything Will Be Okay (Music, Hope, Love),” 2020, courtesy of Morgan Lehman Gallery,  at Intersect Palm Springs.


Coachella Valley Art Eduardo Tresoldi

Edoardo Tresoldi, Etherea in Coachella


Coachella Art Installations

Various locations

Judging by social media, the Coachella music festival might be known as much for its gigantic art installations as its performance lineup. Fortunately for us locals, festival promoter Goldenvoice has been re-siting artworks in East Valley communities for all to see. The initiative started with three sculptures by Don Kennell: a bear at Shady Lane Park in Coachella, a dog at Avenue 48 and Hjorth Street in Indio, and a roadrunner in the traffic circle at Jefferson Street and Avenue 52 in La Quinta. More recently, “Etherea,” a 54-foot-tall sculpture by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi, was installed at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Sixth streets in Coachella. Inspired by neoclassical and baroque architecture, the translucent wire-mesh structure offers a surreal experience that changes with the light and atmospheric conditions like wind. At Indio’s Dr. Carreon Park, architect Francis Kéré’s “Sarbalé ke” (“the house of celebration”) features colorful teepee-like structures referencing the baobab trees of his native village of Gando, Burkina Faso. “In my culture, the baobab is the most important tree,” he says.

“It’s giant, and it has multiple uses as food and medicine. It’s the place where you get together, celebrate, and discuss. You naturally walk toward it.” Finally, L.A.-based Office Kovacs’ “Colossal Cacti” — brightly colored cactus sculptures soaring up to four stories tall — was installed in downtown Indio. Instead of prickly needles, these “plants” have reflectors that illuminate at nighttime.

Read next: Six local art centers where you can take a workshop.