Making Art From Trash In The High Desert

The Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum is a case study in resilience. Situated 10 miles north of Joshua Tree National Park, 10 miles south of the ominously fenced Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (your guess is as good as mine), this is real-deal desert country. The Mojave, as is the case with virtually all deserts, relentlessly brutalizes everything it touches, living and otherwise. Summer days routinely hover above 100 degrees, and winter nights plummet to below freezing temperatures. At around 3,000 feet above sea level, this is the high desert. And high desert means wind. Bone-rattling, eye-drying, tuck-your-chin-into-your-clavicle-and-pray-it-will-stop kind of wind. The predominant environmental features are enormous mounds of bare rock and innumerable clusters of Yucca brevifolia, the eponymous Joshua Trees, plopped like wooly mammoths amidst the sand.

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