“Homestead is where the art is.”

March 6, 2010

“Dry Immersion 3” brings UC artists to Wonder Valley

Filed under: Architecture, Art, Culture, Events — magicgroove @ 2:57 am

“Dry Immersion 3” comes to Wonder Valley on Saturday, March 6, 2010.  Per the Press-Enterprise:

Artists from seven University of California campuses will gather Saturday amid the creosote and hollowed-out cabins of Wonder Valley east of Twentynine Palms for a desert-inspired art event.

The remote landscape will be host to art installations, musical performances and at least one video work. The public event includes 19 artworks created by 24 artists.

“Dry Immersion 3” is the third part of a project co-organized by UC Riverside’s Sweeney Art Gallery and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

In October, a four-day roving symposium shuttled 66 artists to various areas of the desert to familiarize them with the terrain and culture and encourage them to create desert-oriented works.

Saturday’s event is a result of that exposure.

“I feel kind of organically connected to the culture and the landscape out there and have done for a number of years,” co-organizer Dick Hebdige said, as quoted by the P-E..  “There are a lot of artists moving out to that corner of the desert.  More than that, there’s a great sense that the desert is an area of special interest in debates about the future.”

The desert, he said, is at the center of discussions regarding environmental concerns, water depletion, resource management and the impact of population on what is a fragile ecosystem.

Some of the art pieces use digital mapping technologies along with the raw landscape, Hebdige said

“I think a lot of artists are fascinated by this new relationship to the land,” he said.

The image above is “Postmodern Mojave Viper” by exhibition artist Christopher Woodcock, who has produced a series of five large photographs focused on the architecture of the Iraq/Afghanistan training villages at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center near Twentynine Palms.

The art installations will be open from 1 p.m. to sunset at JT Getaway Ranch, followed by a series of poetry, video and music performances by the Sibleys and others at 8 p.m. at The Palms Bar and Restaurant.  More info in the Press-Enterprise.  Directions to the event are on the Sweeney Website; click on Dry Immersion 3>Directions for Public.

For more information on the “Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map:  An Interdisciplinary Response”, including Dry Immersions 1, 2, and 3 as well as an interesting proposal for a Desert Studies program, see the UCR Sweeney Art Gallery Website.

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July 19, 2008

Homesteads and the National Historic Preservation Act

Filed under: Architecture, Historic preservation — magicgroove @ 9:26 am

What is the historic importance of the Homestead communities in terms of the National Historic Preservation Act?

Johnson Valley cabin-owner Carl Ripaldi participated in the Cabin Festival, reading his poems at the “Show ‘n Tell” at The Palms.  He’s also an environmental professional, and he has prepared the following relevant comments on the subject (while considering the advisability of the Green Path North project, which would run through Johnson Valley):

“Johnson Valley was founded under the “Small Homestead Act” of 1939, an attempt by the Federal Government to bring residents into the Mojave Desert in which five acre parcels of land were given to individuals who agreed to build a small residential structure within two years of being allocated the land, under which condition they would be granted title.  Under this “Act” Johnson Valley and likewise Wonder Valley and Flamingo Heights were founded as Homestead Communities. 

“Accordingly, Johnson Valley is eligible as a historic community under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.   Note that:

  • It is associated with an historic event.
  • It includes historic structures (currently 50 year old or will be 50 years old by the time the Greenpath North Project is built), the homestead cabins, that were created as a result of this historic act and which remain for the most part architecturally intact.  The Johnson Valley Community Improvement Center is an eligible structure due to its age and architectural integrity.
  • The entire community may be eligible as historic under Section 106 as there has been very little alteration to its architectural, physical and historic integrity since it was founded as a Homestead Community (indeed many of the original homesteaders and their relatives still reside in the community).  To help you understand this, I invite the management of LADWP, the BLM and the County of San Bernardino to experience the uniquely historic and thoroughly “Americana” nature of the Community by coming to the Saturday Morning Community Breakfasts offered to all residents, guests and visitors every Saturday morning at the Johnson Valley Community Improvement Center.”

Learn more about the history of the homestead cabins here.

March 19, 2008

Shed Reckoning

Filed under: Architecture, Festival, Press — magicgroove @ 4:06 am

By now you’ve probably seen the a copy of Dune Magazine around.  It’s the newish bimonthly glossy “desert life, desert style” magazine out of Palm Springs, and you’ll want to pick up the February-March 2008 first annual Architectural issue for the feature on the Wonder Valley Homestead Cabin Festival!  

Shed Reckoning, Dune Magazine

I’ve found the magazine to have a canny mix of high style and notable insight into the gamut of desert reality, illustrated perfectly by their decision to position the story on our dusty old Festival directly across from their main feature on iconic architectural photographer Julius Shulman, the man who put Mid Century Modern architecture on the cultural map:

“It’s with a sense of aesthetic-historic juxtaposition, and a bit of mischief, that we’ve placed our story about the cabins adjacent to writer Lydia Kremer’s beautifully illustrated feature on renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman. The subjects of these two articles aren’t so mutually exclusive: Both are observing 70-year anniversaries, and they’ve contributed substantially in their respective ways to local culture. It’s worth noting that some folks have taken to remodeling their old High Desert homesteads in the Mid-Century Modern style exalted by Shulman’s brilliant Palm Springs record. The desert may be a study in contrasts, but its underlying interrelationships and shared influences keep it fascinating.” – Dean Lamanna, Executive Editor, Dune Magazine

You can read an excerpt from the article on my personal Website here.

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