Marfa Dialogues

AutoBody
Featuring North of South, West of East

Neville Wakefield (Curator), Meredith Danluck, Liz Cohen, Matthew Day Jackson, and Jonathan Schipper

30 Sept 2011 - 12 Feb 2012


Friday, 30 September 2011
6-8pm: Opening reception
7pm: Performance by Mick Barr at Ballroom Marfa
8:30pm: Community dinner at the Capri
9:30pm: Performance by Mariachi Las Alteñas at the Capri

Saturday, 1 October 2011
2pm exhibition walkthrough with the artists

All events are free and open to the public.


AutoBody, curated by Neville Wakefield, explores the mythology of the American automobile through the carcasses of an industry turned art. From Robert Frank to Richard Prince, the automobile has been the driving force of American freedom: its promise of escape provided in an image of mobility. However, as JG Ballard pronounced over 40 years ago, “the car as we know it is on the way out… for as a basically old fashioned machine, it enshrines a basically old-fashion idea: freedom.” The American dream that it once represented, and freedom—the idea it once enshrined—may, like the car itself, be turning obsolete.

With a nod to those windshields that cinematized landscape, AutoBody features the newly commissioned four-channel video work, North of South, West of East, by emerging artist Meredith Danluck and produced by Matthew Shattuck. Shot on location in Detroit, Michigan and Marfa, Texas, North of South West of East uses the car as an entry point, a subtle connective tissue, between the equally loaded but seemingly disparate archetypes of the Cowboy, the Rebel, the Immigrant, and the Actress. Eschewing the simplification of abstraction, the film employs the mainstays of narrative with a strong focus on temporality. Each of the four character’s retention of the past, attention to present actions and future anticipation play out on separate screens simultaneously manifesting both mobility and stasis—the chronic existential crisis that is American identity.

Marfa local punk band Solid Waste and New York musician John Carpenter are featured on the film’s soundtrack.

Works by Liz Cohen, Matthew Day Jackson, and Jonathan Schipper accompany Danluck’s film installation. Ranging from the slow motion erotics of collision to high speed ethanol ambitions, masculine relics of bodies past to feminized hybrids of bikinied futures, AutoBody figures the car as an extension of the body, laying bare the contemporary relationship between sculpture and performance.

Ballroom Marfa was at one time a body shop. Drawing on this this history, AutoBody will be presented as a car showroom—a place where fantasy, speculation, and promises of freedom, speed, and escape are embodied in objects of destruction and desire.

To inaugurate AutoBody, Ballroom Marfa will host a weekend of festivities, including an opening reception on Friday, 30 September, from 6-8 pm. During the reception at 7pm, composer and experimental metal guitarist Mick Barr will perform in Ballroom Marfa’s courtyard. Barr is noted for the discordant qualities of his compositions: non-repeating riffs and repetition, pre-meditated structure and randomness, harmony and counterpoint. Above all, he is celebrated for the speed and rigor of his shredding.

After the opening reception is a community dinner at the Capri at 8:30pm followed by a performance by the all-female mariachi band Mariachi Las Alteñas. Hailing from San Antonio and dedicated to promoting the majesty of mariachi music, this 10-part band has made its mark in a predominantly male industry.

    [vimeo 30687871] Artist Liz Cohen discussing her work in the show, Trabantimino, which she developed over eight years, at the AutoBody exhibition walkthrough on 1 October 2011.


    [vimeo 30695938] Artists Jonathan Schipper and Meredith Danluck discussing their works, The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle and North of South West of East, respectively, at the AutoBody exhibition walkthrough on 1 October 2011.


    [vimeo 32581965] Trailer for “North of South, West of East,” the new film by Meredith Danluck, which was commissioned by Ballroom Marfa as part of our fall 2011 visual arts exhibition, AUTOBODY, curated by Neville Wakefield.


    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at 10 interviews:
    • Artist and filmmaker Meredith Danluck discussing her film North of South West of East on 29 September 2011
    • Curator Neville Wakefield and Ballroom Marfa Executive Director Fairfax Dorn discussing AutoBody on 30 September 2011

    “Marfa Sidelights, Chinati’s 25th Anniversary Weekend” by Hannah Hughes from Adobe Airstream, featuring a review of Jonathan Schipper’s sculpture, The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle, in AutoBody.

    “Yes, That Is a Car Seat in My Low Rider: An Interview with Liz Cohen” by Sarah Margolis-Pineo from Bad at Sports.

    Caitlin Murray’s review of AutoBody in Pastelegram.

    “Middle of the Room” by Valentina Valentini, discussing Meredith Danluck’s film North of South, West of East at Sundance 2013.

    AutoBody has been made possible through the support of the Brown Foundation Inc., Houston, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, University of Michigan, Detroit, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, New York Foundation for the Arts, Renwick Gallery, and Ex Vivo Productions. With generous contributions by Jorge Linares and Ballroom Marfa Members.

    Special thanks to Lalo Baeza, Vicki Barge, The Big Bend Sentinel, Mike Benavidas, Joey Benton, Judy Borunda, David Branch, Michael Camacho, John Carpenter, Joe Cashiola, Ross Cashiola, Vicente Celis, Jane & Bob Crockett, Rob Crowley, Cuca Flores, Fort Davis Stables, Jamey Garza, Jerik Gilly, Giraud Pissarro Segalot, David Gouge, Alberto Halpern, Auden Huerta, David Klein Gallery, Jennie Lyn Hamilton, Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Recording Company, Marfa Table, Eliseo Martinez, Linda & Bobby McKnight, Caitlin Murray, W.N. Parrott, Pierogi Gallery, Francisco Rosas, Salon 94, Hector Sanchez, Nathan Sarten and the West Collection, Oaks, PA.

    In-kind support provided by Pablo Alvarado, David Egeland & Andrew Friedman, the Hotel Paisano, Lorri Kirschner, Jacqueline R. Northcut, Danielle and Adrian Rubi-Dentzel, the Thunderbird Hotel and Tom Rapp & Toshi Sakihara.

    Food by Food Shark.

    Design by Sally Coleman.