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Coachella 2016: Beyond the Bands, Find Fascinating Art

Artistic Inspiration

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was held between April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2016 in Indio, California, opened once again with a new lineup of art sculptures, each playing a major role in the transformative landscape that separates Coachella from other festivals. What started as an aesthetically pleasing way to break up the long stretches of real estate between stages, has become an essential component to the festival experience.


Coachella Ferris Wheel

Take a closer look at some of our favorite art installations at this year’s Coachella:

Besame Mucho
The moment fans entered the grounds, they were greeted by “Besame Mucho” from R & R Studios in Argentina. A gigantic word wall made entirely of flowers was an ever-present reminder of the festival’s intent to extend good vibes to all of its patrons. The 130-foot-long by 28-foot-tall installation was inspired by L.A.’s iconic Hollywood sign, and consisted of 100,000 silk flowers in prevailing warm tones of reds, yellows, and oranges.


‘Besame Mucho’ by RR Studios in Argentina

Katrina Chairs
With Katrina Chairs, Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea ‘elevated an entire community’. As Coachella’s biggest political installment, the gigantic, bright yellow chairs looked quite benign from a distance. But on closer inspection it’s revealed that the chairs were actually cramped living spaces, modeling the horrific conditions forced upon residents affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. While many concert-goers used the installment as a place to meet friends or a brief respite from the sun, the piece’s heavy message was still recognized.



Katrina Chairs by Alexandre Arrechea

Tower of Twelve Stories
The Tower of Twelve Stories was essentially a full-scale section model, a 52-foot-tall structure peeled open from top-to-bottom to expose the interior action. Its modules came together not in exacting cubes, but rather in cartoonish spaces of different shapes, like the result of an acid-induced Jenga game. During the daytime, it stood modestly unassuming, mostly providing shelter from the heat of the sun. But at night, each component lit up, sometimes with different colors and sometimes all together as one, and became a beautiful beacon that could be seen from all corners of the polo fields.


‘Tower of Twelve Stories’ by Taiwanese/Canadian artist Jimenez Lai

The circular, mirrored rest area, “Portals,” by Palm Desert artist Phillip K. Smith III, provided a great place to re-charge and snap a few photos. Fascinated and inspired by the desert’s phenomenal light, Smith took cues from the work of California’s Light and Space pioneers of the late 1960's and ’70s, particularly James Turrell and Robert Irwin. The idea of interacting with light and the sun traces to Smith’s earliest works after studying art and architecture at Rhode Island School of Design.


‘Portals’ by Phillip K. Smith III

For more information on this years installations, as well as past years, visit