The Art Installations That Will Make Coachella 2016 Next Level

Article by: Chris Hong|@thelivebite

Thu April 07, 2016 | 00:00 AM

There's no doubt that art shapes festival experiences, from invigorating various venue with colorful spectacles, to providing us with photo ops that create lasting memories, to simply giving us a catalyst to slow down and reflect amidst the madness. At Coachella , that mesmerizing, 55-foot tall butterfly, along with dozens of balloons twinkling in the night sky, bestows a surreal feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

These days it's a given that festivals are more than just about the music, and Coachella is definitely doing its part in its efforts to showcase amazing artists from around the globe on its expansive festival grounds. From large-scale interactives to kinetic installations, Coachella's art engages attendees by complementing the musical journey its festival-goers have come to experience.

With several new additions to the Coachella art family, here are a few creators we are excited to see at this year’s fest:

Alexandre Arrechea is the first of several new additions to present at Coachella. Born and raised in Cuba, Alexandre explores the relationship between space and architecture and his work is the reflection of those themes: how to interact in space and how space can be controlled. “The piece is called Katrina Chairs, and it will make reference to a moment in history because it’s important to address it,” said Alexandre Arrechea. “The large structure is made out of wood and reinforced with steel, and will provide great shade and functionality. Be with the chair, experience the story, reflect on life, and experience the festival.”

R&R Studios , the collaboration between Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, entwines visual arts and design with architecture and urbanism. Structured with graphic colors and defined spaces, their works explore the line between private and public spaces, which can be seen in their most notable Miami icon The Living Room, a 42 foot-tall unfinished home turned inside out, bridging the gap between contemporary art and pop culture. It’s likely we’ll see an installation similar to The Living Room at Coachella, which will challenge us in exploring these areas and question whether we have privacy in public settings.

Newcomer Jimenez Lai also draws inspiration from architecture, but incorporates whimsical cartoon elements to tell narratives and evoke emotion. His inaugural piece, called Tower of 12 Stories, is a response to Rem Koolhaas’ essay Typical Plan, which describes a late 20th century skyscraper that became a platform for high capitalism. “It’s a big character, so we wanted to make sure it had a certain posture. There’s an implied quality to the story and having people make up their own story is a great experience.”

No Precedent: Bureau Spectacular - Jimenez Lai from Architectural League of New York on Vimeo.

Coachella-based, self-proclaimed storytellers Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, also known as The Date Farmers , share their artistic vision through paintings, collages, sculptures, installations, and videos. Their work is rooted in their Mexican-American heritage and Californian pop culture, blending Mexican street murals and Oaxacan sign painting with graffiti and tattoo art. We’ll likely see murals at Coachella, which is a pleasant juxtaposition to the rugged and minimal installations we’ll experience from other artists.

You might remember Phillip K. Smith III’s installation from 2014 titled Reflection Field, composed of five sculptural elements towering two stories high. Its panels mirrored the desert landscape by day, and were illuminated with LEDs by night. Drawing from an eclectic blend of artistic inspiration – from the cold rigidity of the Bauhaus movement to the geometric simplicity of minimalism – Smith III creates art that may seem simple to the eye but offers a great deal of complexity for those willing to explore its deeper meanings. His work uses color theory, light and shadows, and technology so we can expect to see something of this nature during the festival.


Completing our short list are two artistic companies that have presented at Coachella for many years, bringing new experiences each and every festival. Lucent Dossier Experience , which is perpetually deemed as one of the best performance art collectives in the entire festival world, is a family of talented fire dancers, aerial artists, contortionists, stilt walkers, singers and burlesque dancers who tell ethereal stories using jaw-dropping choreography and world music.

Hosting the Lucenet Dossier Experience and a curated lineup of artists like Brillz, Paper Diamond, and Satori, The Do Lab is its own art experience. A cross between stage and art installation, The Do Lab is reimagined every year with creative lighting and shaded structures that make you feel like you’re in another dimension (especially with the experimental music enveloping the stage). These are some of the reasons why we love The Do Lab stage at Coachella; find out more reasons why you need to visit The Do Lab here.

Other artists showcasing at the festival include Raices Cultura , who constructed last year’s Coachella Bound, Super Tall Paul and Rossome, both creating The Jive Joint in the camping area in previous years, iconic festival balloonist Robert Bose , and the duo of Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis .

We can’t wait to see all of these works in person!