The HDTS Mission:

The High Desert Test Sites are a series of experimental art sites located along a stretch of desert communities including Pioneer town, Yucca Valley, Joshua tree, 29 Palms and Wonder Valley. These sites provide alternative space for experimental works by both emerging and established artists.

The Experiment:

1. To challenge traditional conventions of ownership, property and patronage. Most projects will ultimately belong to no one, and they are intended to melt back into the landscape as new ones emerge.

2. To “insert” art directly into a life, a landscape or a community where it will sink or swim based on a different set of criteria than those of art world institutions and galleries.

3. To encourage art that remains in the context for which it was created – similar to the intentions early site-specific art, before “site specific” became something that could be retailored for any location. Works that will be born live and die in the same spot.

4. To initiate an organism in it’s own right - one is bigger, richer, and less organized than the vision of any single artist, curator or architect.

5. To create a “center” outside of any preexisting centers. Inspired by groups like the Modern Institute in Glasgow, or Forcefield in Providence RI, which aren’t, based so much on the cache of living in an existing cultural capital so much as their ability to make a center around themselves in whatever location they happen to be in.

6. To find common ground between contemporary art and localized art issues.

7 . To run on a zero budget. The High Desert Test Sites receives no funding – nor does it seek any. The organizers and artists themselves pay for all expenses. As a result of the zero budget policy there is a necessity to find new ways to convey meaning and create experiences through the most economical means. The most successful works are often casual, experimental and somewhat offhand.

8. 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. Most of the artists who settle in this area are from larger cities, but want to live in a place where they can control and shape the development 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 send an email to




Who we are:

Andrea Zittel
Andrea's "AZ West", centraly located in Joshua Tree California, is the ground zero test site - serving as a home, studio, and research/development facility for a variety of her experiments in living.

Shaun Caley-Regen
Proprietress of Regen Projects in Los Angeles, Shaun works alongside artists producing projects for the events. She's also our PR genius, responsible for putting the word out about HDTS. Blame Shaun for the enthusiastic crowds.

John Connelly
Challenging the notion that HDTS is a small town affair, John is our New York connection, spreading the love and lore of HDTS throughout NYC. In addition to recruiting East Coasters to come out and play in the hot desert sun, John also runs his gallery; John Conelly Presents

Lisa Anne Auerbach
Got in on the HDTS ground floor by producing the event's accompanying publication. The power of the written word being what it is, she somehow ended up being one of the organizers, despite living in The big city. Contact her if you'd like to be part of the publication team.

Andy Stillpass
A longtime collector based in Cincinnati Ohio, Andy's life litterally intersects with his art collection. Andy's sandiest acquisition is a parcel of land in Pioneertown, which he generously lends to HDTS for film screenings, installations, camping, hiking, and star-gazing.