July 1, 2017 – Ongoing
Public Sculpture, Hinkley, CA
Desert Lighthouse is a full-size functioning lighthouse in the Mojave Desert near Hinkley, CA. This 50ft tall monument, built by Daniel Hawkins, was established in 2017. The DL's location is surrounded by a number of immediate hazards, including: militarized testing grounds, an underground shape-shifting toxic plume, a nearby “near” ghost-town, and a local culture of armed “desert scavengers.” In the eye of the beholder, the Lighthouse’s light may serve as a “last chance” warning signal to get out or a much needed steadying beacon in the vastness expanse of this beautiful and challenging environment. The Desert Lighthouse has been possible through the generous support of West of Rome Public Art, Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation, among other generous donors.
Desert Lighthouse: V
October 1 – November 5, 2022
PRJCTLA, Los Angeles, CA
PRJCTLA is pleased to present Desert Lighthouse: V, a solo exhibition by Daniel Hawkins. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, and the third exhibition of his “Desert Lighthouse Trilogy”. This exhibition has been timed to coincide with the five year anniversary of the launch of the Desert Lighthouse, a 50ft tall fully functioning lighthouse in the Mojave Desert, near Hinkley, California. DL: V presents artifacts spanning the project's history from inception to present day, including: concept drawings, diagrams, photographs, video, sculptures, and more. The exhibition will feature a catalog with essays by Doug Harvey and Veronica Della Dora, as well as an artist book titled “Bureaucracy of the Light” which details the multi-year bureaucratic effort, and ensuing paperwork, to bring the Desert Lighthouse into existence.
Radical Mountain: Embrace The Flatness
September 12 – October 17, 2020
CMay Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
CMay gallery is pleased to present Radical Mountain: Embrace The Flatness, a solo exhibition by Daniel Hawkins. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery, and the first of three projected Radical Mountain exhibitions planned for the next two years — continuing Hawkins’ series of ambitious, narrative-laden, interdisciplinary projects. The ostensible end product of the Radical Mountain project is another idiosyncratic translation of Land Art — an alpine adventure film about the conquest of a summit with an elevation of zero, by a band of cult-like true believers led by the artist himself. RM: Embrace The Flatness presents a selection of artifacts to articulate the parameters of this sprawling, ambitious exploration of landscape, cinema, Modernism, and New Age self-help movements.
Desert Lighthouse Ultimatum
November 22, 2014 – March 14, 2015
UC Riverside Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside, CA
Desert Lighthouse Ultimatum presents a project status report from multi-media artist Daniel Hawkins, documenting his struggles to erect a full-size, functioning lighthouse in the Mojave Desert near Hinkley, California – an edifice he completed once but which was immediately dismantled by scavengers. Following Hawkins' Desert Lighthouse Protocols exhibition at UC Irvine, Ultimatum expands and focuses his vision with an array of artifacts and documents, centering on the fully functioning top 1/5 of the rebuilt lighthouse. The Culver exhibition also includes materials as diverse as the artist’s beautifully painted panoramic backdrops of the actual building site, a pair of oversized bulletin board compositions presenting an intricate non-linear pictorial/informational representation of the Desert Lighthouse saga, video animations simulating the lighthouse’s eventual decay, and a limited edition Prospectus for potential investors in this exciting Land Art investment opportunity.
Desert Lighthouse Protocols
UC Irvine Contemporary Arts Center, Irvine, CA
Desert Lighthouse Protocols presents a fractured, prismatic inventory of partially completed, perversely translated, and allegedly destroyed iterations of his tragic but epic land art project “Desert Lighthouse.” Hawkins initially conceived of the “Desert Lighthouse” during an agoraphobic panic attack while driving through California’s High Desert at night — the lack of any visual reference point while careening through a featureless void recalled the sublime Romantic condition of being lost at sea, and provoked a craving for the orienting singularity of a homing beacon. On his return to Los Angeles, Hawkins immediately set about acquiring a small parcel of land in the high desert, and began researching the engineering and legal logistics to construct a full-size, functioning lighthouse.
September 11 – October 7, 2009
Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, CA
For his latest large-scale sculpture, emerging artist Daniel Hawkins presents, RR, an 8-foot segment of railroad track – including gravel, railroad ties, and steel rails – is set between two vertical panes of two-way mirrored plexiglas. When viewing the artwork from its mirrored ends, a theatrical, near-cinematic illusion is created of a railroad extending into infinity, yet when walking around the sculpture’s open sides the illusion collapses back into finite immediate tactility. The duality of this work as both reflective illusion and sculptural object mirrors the complicated history of railroads, as a symbol for expansion, freedom, and empowerment while also serving as a repeated instrument of genocide and colonial expansion. With its arresting mash-up of mutually exclusive artistic mediums, RR is the embodiment of paradoxical emotions, narratives, and ways of perceiving the world — and this contradiction opens a space where we can reflect on how we got here, where we’re headed, and what illusions and promises we may be riding at this very moment.