A Perfect Oasis

photo of a pool in the Mojave desert
Courtesy Alfredo Barsuglia
photo of a pool in the Mojave desert photo of a pool in the Mojave desert

Somewhere out in the southern Mojave Desert, there is a swimming pool. It’s not behind a house or along a street or even at the end of a trail. It’s just there. Landscaped by the tumbleweeds and dust and creosote, apropos of nothing.

Its location was something of a secret this past summer. If you were one of the lucky few to enjoy the desert pool, you will have inquired at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, where they gave you GPS coordinates and a key to unlock the cover. (Access to the pool was granted to one person per 24 hours.)

You would have driven out into the desert, parked your car, shouldered your day bag and made your way among the cacti and sage until you came upon this tidy white rectangular vessel. And then, amidst the brown thirsty hills, under the blazing sun, you would have taken a very memorable dip.

The pool was offered as an artistic expression by Austrian Alfredo Barsuglia. The piece, Barsuglia told the LA Times, “is about the effort people make to reach a luxury good.”

Visitors all summer were willing to travel the better part of a day to feel the luxury of sliding through cool water in the glorious solitude of the desert, so Barsuglia clearly made his point. The pool closed September 30.

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