Marfa Dialogues

Paul Villinski – Emergency Response Studio

Paul Villinski

14 March - 16 April 2009

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday 14 March, 3-6pm

Ballroom Marfa is proud to be hosting Paul Villinski’s Emergency Response Studio, a solar-powered, mobile artist’s studio repurposed from a salvaged FEMA-style trailer.

Emergency Response Studio was conceived by Villinski after visiting Post-Katrina New Orleans, a scene he felt was still comparable to a war-torn region in 2006. It was created with the idea that artists could “embed” in post-disaster environments, and once there, add to the mix of recovery assistance via their creative contributions. As a project for the inaugural USA Biennial, “Prospect 1. New Orleans”, the repurposed trailer was exhibited at various locations throughout the city – including in the Lower Ninth Ward, the area left most devastated by Katrina – and has been touring the country since the exhibition’s closing in January.

As a symbol of transformation and possibilities for crisis-stricken communities, the trailer itself has been completely transfigured from a “toxic tin-can” of a FEMA trailer into a sustainably-built, off the grid living and work space. Solar powered and constructed with green materials – including recycled denim insulation, zero-VOC paints, bamboo cabinetry, compact fluorescent lighting, reclaimed wood and floor tiles made from linseed oil – the “Emergency Response Studio” is a prototype for self-sufficient, mobile housing with a minimized carbon footprint.

Emergency Response Studio folds out like a jackknife, altering the standardized dimensions of the FEMA trailer with features that include a deck area and a ten foot geodesic skylight. Opening up to the surrounding environment the Emergency Response Studio enables a free exchange between artist and environment in a collaboration of reinvention.

Paul Villinski (b. 1960, Maine, USA) is a New York City-based artist who often works with discarded materials, repurposing them in sculptures and installations that suggest the possibility of change itself. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including recent shows at Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, TX; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; The Hillwood Art Museum, Brookville, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY; Bradbury Gallery, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR; Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME; Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans (LA), and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York (NY).

Emergency Response Studio was conceived as a project for “Prospect.1 New Orleans” and is presented courtesy of the artist and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans. For further information on Emergency Response Studio, please visit please visit

Listen to the Talk at 10 interview with artist Paul Villinski, Friday, 13 March 2009 at 10am on KRTS 93.5 FM or streaming live at

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with artist Paul Villinski and gallerist Jonathan Ferrara.

    Generous funding for Emergency Response Studio in Marfa has been provided by Tim Crowley, Charles Mallory, Dave and Janet Scott, and Ballroom Marfa members. Special thanks to KRTS Marfa Public Radio.