Getting high with JFK

Teenagers in California’s Coachella Valley have found a creative way of “engaging” with the art on view at Desert X

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Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist and Desert X

Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist and Desert X

Teenagers in California’s Coachella Valley have found a creative way of “engaging” with the art on view at Desert X, the site-specific exhibition that went up earlier this year. Specifically, they’ve discovered that the underground bomb shelter that houses artist Will Boone’s painted bronze statue of a smiling John F. Kennedy—the same shelter the president would have used in the event of a nuclear attack—makes an excellent “hotbox”, as Desert X’s artistic director Neville Wakefield put it during a recent talk at the advertising agency Chandelier Creative, referring to an airtight space where marijuana can be smoked. “We would find various joints in Kennedy’s mouth so we put a padlock on it at night. Then they cut it and put their own padlock on,” he said. Wakefield seemed pleased that young people, stoned or not, were interacting with Boone’s subterranean work. “It became a very popular piece,” he said.

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