High Desert Test Sites is a non-profit organization that supports intimate and immersive experiences and exchanges between artists, critical thinkers, and general audiences – challenging all to expand their definition of art to take on new areas of relevancy.
As a conceptual entity we are dedicated to "learning from what we are not." We believe there are many ways to live, and that learning from others can offer new insight and perspectives on ourselves, and the everyday environments we may think we already know well. Our mission is inspired by those visionary individuals who have made their work their life practice – who create intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant work regardless of the market or other outside factors.
HDTS programs include guides to the high desert’s cultural test sites, immersive excursions, solo projects, workshops, publications, and residencies.
To challenge traditional conventions of ownership, property, and patronage. Most projects will ultimately belong to no one and are intended to melt back into the landscape as new ones emerge.
To “insert” art directly into a life, a landscape, or a community where it will sink or swim based on a set of criteria beyond that of art world institutions and galleries.
To encourage art that remains in the context for which it was created—work will be born, live, and die in the same spot.
To initiate an organism in its own right—one that is bigger and richer than the vision of any single artist, architect, designer, or curator.
To create a “center” outside of any preexisting centers. We are inspired by individuals and groups working outside of existing cultural capitals, who are able to make intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant work in whatever location they happen to be in.
To find common ground between contemporary art and localized art issues.
To contribute to a community in which art can truly make a difference. HDTS exists in a series of communities that edge one of the largest suburban sprawls in the nation. Many of the artists who settle in this area are from larger cities, but want to live in a place where they can shape the development of their own community. For the time being, there is still a feeling in the air that if we join together we can still hold back the salmon stucco housing tracts and big box retail centers. Well maybe.
If you would like to stay abreast of HDTS updates, events and projects, sign up for the HDTS mailing list.
Who We Are
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Shaun Caley Regen
Currently Administered by
Andrea Zittel - Founder/director
Vanesa Zendejas - Administrative Director
Elena Yu - Administrative Assistant
Kristy Campbell, Jillian Sandell, Doug Blanc, Kimberly Sikora, Elena Yu. Thanks to Bob Carr, Elizabeth Carr, and Zena Bender at Sky Village Swap Meet!
Kip Fjeld, Sarah Witt, Tatiana Vahan, Hannah Vainstein, Eden Solas, Ali Pearl, Isaac Aronson, Lizzy Gabay, Ida Badal, Sarah Maloney, Sarah Burwash, Eve Ruether, Catherine Davis
High Desert Test Sites is grateful to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Tides Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation - Arts Regranting Program/Inland Empire at The Community Foundation, Strengthening Inland Southern California through Philanthropy, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Ranch Projects, Sky Village Swap Meet, and our generous donors for their support.