Marfa Dialogues


Eduardo Abaroa, Margarita Cabrera, Livia Corona, Minerva Cuevas, Mario García Torres, Máximo González, Paulina Lasa, Teresa Margolles, Pedro Reyes, Tercerunquinto

26 March 2010 - 19 September 2010

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, 26 March, 7-9pm
COMMUNITY DINNER: Friday, 26 March, 9pm
ARTISTS’ TALKS: Saturday, 27 March, 1 pm, Masonic Lodge
MUSIC: Mexican Institute of Sound, Saturday, 27 March, 9pm, Liberty Hall

All events are free and open to the public.

In Lieu of Unity brings together artists from Mexico — citizens, residents and emigrants — who have sustained a curiosity about social relations in their art practices. Their focus demonstrates that the nature of existence is contingent not merely on the cognizance of being, but more so on the relationships between individuals and the collectives they form. Through varied perspectives on what it means to be together, these artists relinquish utopian ideas of unity. Instead they favor their own explorations of the underlying systems that influence everyday encounters, such as language, commerce, architecture, citizenship and social mores. The exhibition as a whole can be seen as a collection of responses to social dynamics as they play out in specific locations in Mexico, within the context of Marfa, Texas, and throughout their shared geographic and conceptual borderlands.

In Lieu of Unity includes established and early career artists working in video, sculpture, installation, performance/intervention and photography.

Of the ten participating artists, Eduardo Abaroa, Minerva Cuevas, Paulina Lasa, Teresa Margolles and Tercerunquinto have traveled to Marfa for research visits, to get a sense of the town’s unique social context within which issues of power and identity are increasingly pressing. Along with other commissions by Margarita Cabrera and Pedro Reyes and extant works by Mario García Torres, Máximo González and Livia Corona, these projects collectively present the means for thinking about communities outside idealistic notions of cohesion and unified experience.

With the aesthetic identity of Marfa so firmly routed in the legacy of Minimalism, In Lieu of Unity consciously shifts the focus towards another integral aspect of the town — its proximity to Mexico. In doing so the exhibition positions itself within a constellation of sites that augments the well-traveled pathways between New York City and Marfa. Within this expanded framework each artist’s work exemplifies a personal take on negotiating being together — encompassing relationships at all levels from the interpersonal to the international.

To inaugurate In Lieu of Unity, Ballroom Marfa will host a weekend of festivities including an opening reception on Friday 26 March, 7-9pm; artists’ talks on Saturday 27 March, 1pm; and a live music performance by the Mexican Institute of Sound on Saturday evening, 9pm. These events are free and open to the public.

Listen to the Talk at Ten interview with Alicia Ritson, curator of In Lieu of Unity on Thursday 25 March at 10am on KRTS Marfa Public Radio 93.5FM or streaming live on

Mexican Institute of Sound is an electronic music project created by Mexico City-based DJ and producer Camilo Lara. As the creative force behind the M.I.S., Lara’s music — a melding of cumbia, hip-hop, mambo, folk, electronica, and traditional Mexican music — has established him as a rising star in both in his native Mexico and north of the border. AllMusic described their last album as “an infectious mix of vintage Mexican pop and dance records from the 1920s through the ’60s — including samples from classic Esquivel sides — with modern loops and beats.”

Listen to the Talk at Ten interview with Camilo Lara of the Mexican Institute of Sound on Friday 26 March at 10am on KRTS Marfa Public Radio 93.5FM or streaming live on

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with In Lieu of Unity curator and Ballroom Marfa Associate Curator, Alicia Ritson.

    Art in America, (PDF) November 16, 2010

    Generous support for In Lieu of Unity has been provided by: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Fundacion/Coleccion Jumex; National Endowment for the Arts; Texas Commission on the Arts; Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation; Mex-Am Cultural Foundation; The Brown Foundation Inc., Houston; Cowles Charitable Trust; H-E-B, San Antonio, TX and Ballroom Marfa members. Ballroom Marfa would also like to thank the following individuals for their generous contributions: Molly Kemp; Laurence Miller; Anne Harithas; Cynthia Toles; and Marlene Meyerson.

    In-kind support provided by: Pablo Alvarado; Diane Barnes and Jon Otis / Windmill Retreat, Marfa, TX; Glen and LeAna Clifton / Grande Dame, Marfa, TX; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX, Hotel Paisano, Marfa, TX; Lorri Kershner / Marfa Casita Retreat, Marfa, TX; Anne Kunsemiller; Tom Jacobs and Vilis Inde / STAY Marfa, Marfa, TX; Quality Quinn; Toshi Sakihara and Tom Rapp; Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, TX; and Tito’s Vodka, Austin, TX.

    Food by Rocky Barnette.