The Bombay Beach Biennale is a renegade celebration of art, music, and philosophy that takes place each year on the literal edge of Western Civilization, at the shores of the Salton Sea. (Un)contained within the limits of Bombay Beach, the Biennale, founded in 2016, transforms the town into a fully-immersive art movement for three days out of the year, but leaves a lasting mark on a place that refuses to be forgotten or written off, even as the man-made lake it was built upon disappears.
As an anti-establishment and community building experience, the entire event is free of charge; it is not about making money. There is no advertising. There is no marketing. The only agenda is saving the Sea.
Initially known as a “miracle in the desert” and just an hour away from Palm Springs, the once pristine Salton Sea, where Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys spent their weekends performing and sport fishing, and where millions of migratory birds make a critical stopover each year, has become a polluted time bomb. As Imperial Valley water allocations, rising salinity levels, and agricultural runoff all contribute to the massive fish-die offs, outbreaks of botulism, and steady evaporation that threatens this microcosm, the eccentric town of Bombay Beach and surrounding communities fight for both the sea and their way of life in the face of daunting political, economic, and environmental odds.
While a permanent solution to this systemic demise remains out of reach, and government programs designed to help are consistently undeveloped or underfunded, we hope to bring much needed global attention to the plight of the Sea through cultural immersion. As the art within the town grows over time and more visitors flock to the area, we are raising awareness both within the general public and through media coverage, while enriching the lives of the residents that are both plagued and sustained by this ecological disaster.
Permanent Biennale Fixtures Include:
The Bombay Beach Drive-In - an outdoor movie theatre featuring car shells, boats, and off-road vehicles newly renovated for Year 2 and gifted to the town as a year round cinema, but with curated film series during the Biennale. Gifted to the town in 2016.
The Hermitage Museum Bombay Beach – Greg Haberny opened a new exhibit “Why Do I Destroy Everything I Love?” alongside works by renowned artists Camille Schefter, Thomas Linder, Jon Pylypchuk, Bill Saylor, and Theodore Boyer. The Museum is a permanent gift to the town. Tours are available upon request. Just ask Steve at the Ski Inn. Gifted to the town in 2016 with new installations and additions each year.
The Bombay Beach Opera House – A dilapidated house transformed into a state-of-the-art performing arts space masterminded by artist James Ostrer. Gifted to the town in 2017
The Toy House - by Kenny Scharf Gifted to the town in 2017
The Bombay Beach Banned Book Library - by Sandy White and Kenny Scharf. Gifted to the town in 2017
The Bombay Beach Particle Accelerator - Gifted to the town in 2017
The Bombay Beach Institute of Particle Physics, Metaphysics & International Relations – Part museum/gallery, part performance space and home to a new Community Garden. Gifted to the town in 2018.
Angler Grove - A revelatory woodland portal and psychedelic human terrarium in the bones of a dilapidated bachelor pad by artist Randy Polumbo. Gifted to the town in 2018.
The Tesseract: Possibly the world’s largest representation of a 4 dimensional hypercube by S. Shigley aka Shig. Lighting design by Jessica Steiner and Ashley Hillis. Gifted to the town in 2018
“Nine” at the Bombay Beach Botanical Gardens: Artist Yassi Mazandi unveiled a new super-sized "flower vertebrae" in her "flowerbed" series of porcelain sculpture. Gifted to the town in 2018.
Toxic Tango - a work in progress by De Cock: a dance between the ongoing decay of the Salton Sea with a nod to the continuous pollution of our oceans. Both bodies of water unite with paint for this lascivious dance to attract consciousness towards our current problems. Go and witness the duet for yourself at the Bombay Beach Motel. Gifted to the town in 2018
The Bombay Beach Estates – An art park containing multiple installations by Thomas Linder, and Camille Schefter and more.
The Last Resort – The forthcoming "hotel de ville" of Bombay Beach. Artist Greg Haberny created a prototype room, Suite 406, at the Petit Ermitage Hotel. It will soon be reconstructed as the first room of the Last Resort. Groundbreaking in 2019.
*The Drive-In and Hermitage are run by locals during the year. Keys are held by members of the town, and anyone is allowed to set up a tour or schedule a screening.
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