Mysteries: Desert Visions – WSJ

Scott O’Connor resurrects the West Coast art scene of the 1970s in “Zero Zone” (Counterpoint, 310 pages, $26), a complexly structured novel that evokes the aesthetic thrills and apocalyptic impulses of its time and place as viscerally as a hot Santa Ana wind.

Jess Shepard, of Los Angeles, lost her parents to a car crash when she was 13, and turned to art to create a space “that could hold some of her grief and confusion while also pointing the way toward the possibility of something beautiful beyond.” Her early pieces, including a studio installation of nine connected chambers each flooded with a different color, had a profound effect on all sorts of viewers (“I woke up crying . . . I’ve come back every night since,” says one fan). Her latest project is Zero Zone, a 10-foot-high concrete room—with apertures to let the light in—built on an abandoned

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