The Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s state-of-the-art gallery in Greater Joshua Tree has formed an innovative new partnership with the renowned multi-national art gallery, ARTCO, and will once again open its doors to the public on December 11, 2021 with a new name—the Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art—and a new exhibition, EMERGENCE, as part of the highly anticipated re-opening.

Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art (JT-GOCA) and the Cultural Center’s entire leading-edge Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center that it’s a part of, had its grand opening in June 2018 but was forced to close fewer than two years later in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic mandates—where it remained without any exhibitions or programming for nearly 19 months. While the pandemic has been financially devastating for nearly all arts organizations, including the Cultural Center, the downtime has given the Center time to further implement its intended vision for the flagship gallery—to be an avid participant in the international arts community, highlight the beauty of commonality within diversity, and represent the Greater Joshua Tree area.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with ARTCO to move forward in taking this anticipated next step to fulfill the original vision for this cutting-edge venue,” explains Jarrod Radnich, the Cultural Center’s president. ARTCO maintains galleries in Europe and South Africa and has chosen to partner with the Cultural Center in Joshua Tree for its United States presence.

“Emergence” fills the gallery with the photographic artwork of Michael Childers and Gordon Clark. The exhibition presents new works from each artist as well as works that have adorned the walls of esteemed museums and galleries around the globe. The December 11 opening publicly previews and offers for sale the exhibited photographs ahead of the exhibition’s Grand Gala to be held on January 21, 2022.

Michael Childers is a truly iconic living legend, with a scope of artistic work realized by very few others. From his photographic work at Sir Laurence Olivier’s National Theater in London, to 200+ magazine covers including, among others, Vogue, GQ, Dance, Esquire, and Elle, to being a founding photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview and After Dark magazines—Childers manages to capture an inner vibrancy and rare portrayal of all his subjects.

Childers has created some of the most renowned portraits of Hollywood and music icons and produced numerous award-winning films. For the new exhibition, “Emergence” , the Michael Childers’ exhibited works include his stunning newest body of work, Nude Fusions (2021), his provocative and never-before- exhibited White Party (2002) collection, fantastic selections from his LA Drag Ball (1974) that was previously exhibited at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and several of his famous portraits of Hollywood celebrities. “People were coming out and expressing themselves,” says Childers, who created a series of striking black-and-white photographs in which his subjects experimented with makeup, wedding dresses, tuxedos, and feather boas, exposing the artifice of traditional gender identity and the joy of self-expression. “It was sweet, innocent drag.”

“Together, these bodies of work offer a compelling and provocative then-and-now portrait of gay liberation and expression. They also represent a diversion from Childers’ star-studded oeuvre, which spans more than 100 films (he was a photographer on the sets of Grease, Marathon Man, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Coal Miner’s Daughter, and others) and includes more than 200 magazine covers. He also photographed scores of fine artists, garnering acclaim for his images of Andy Warhol and the British painter David Hockney,” commented Steven Biller, Editor-in-Chief, Palm Springs Life.

Gordon Clark is an acclaimed photographer and award-winning cinematographer renowned for his spellbinding images of landscapes and multifaceted photographs and cinematic stories of the human experience. He weaves complex narratives by inserting subjects into deliberately choreographed natural environments, which compel viewers to interpret the powerful dilemmas at play within each subject’s life. His photographs have been shown in prominent museums and gallery exhibitions around the world. For “Emergence”, the exhibited works of Clark are all limited-edition large-format photographs. His new works presented include selections from Timeline (momentous Joshua Tree landscapes—2020) and Messages to Self (inside the life and mind of David Kilburn—2021). Also presented are works previously shown in South Africa and Europe including Who Am I? (Leon Botha—2009 through 2015), and Growing Big in Gang Land (Cape Town South Africa—2014).

The gallery’s opening night for “Emergence” runs from 5:00-9:00 PM on Saturday, December 11, 2021. On Sunday, December 12, 2021 the exhibition’s special hours are 1:00-5:00 PM. The Grand Gala is January 21, 2022 from 6:00-9:00 PM. The exhibition closes on Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 5:00 PM. JT-GOCA is located in the Cultural Center’s Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center at 58325 Highway 62, immediately west of Joshua Tree in Yucca Valley, California 92284.

The gallery’s scheduled hours and days of operation will initially be Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00-5:00 PM, and Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with special days and times throughout the holidays, as well as art panels and other events to be announced. Private showings available by appointment. Visit www.jtarts.org for more information.