Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Visual Art

Hello Meth Lab in the Sun—Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe & Alexandre Singh

5 Apr 20084 Aug 2008


Marfa, Texas


Jonah Freeman  |  Justin Lowe |  Alexandre Singh 

Ballroom Marfa’s spring 2008 exhibition, Hello Meth Lab in the Sun, was a collaboration between three artists: Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe, and Alexandre Singh. The exhibition was a rumination on the theme of alchemy, and the exhibition sought to uncover some of the sites of alchemical transformation in the modern world.

Hello Meth Lab in the Sun transformed Ballroom’s gallery spaces into a labyrinthine assemblage of rooms, hallways, closets, and observation platforms. Like the dioramas of the Museum of Natural History or the period rooms of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition created theatrical depictions of three specific social/historical contexts: the utopian hippie commune, the clandestine meth lab, and the varied sites of modern industrial production. Each room and object was suggestive of a state of transformation or hybridization: vegetables into broth; match heads into meth; sugar cane into Mountain Dew.

Hello Meth Lab in the Sun took up alchemy’s method of homespun experimentalism, bonding unlikely ingredients and ushering in a secular mysticism. One room reads as an Upper East Side apartment converted to a lifestyle museum, with a collection of black and white society photographs documenting hermetic rituals with cacti and crystals. This is a world reminiscent of Norman Mailer’s 50th birthday party and the final scene in Polanski’s 1968 horror film, Rosemary’s Baby.

Another room reveals itself as a laboratory cluttered with crates of cold medicine, boxes of matches, containers of cat litter and glassware for the mass production of narcotics. Here not only are materials transformed, their intended uses are subverted along with consumerism’s tenets of freedom, happiness and choice. The lightly veiled intimacy between the lawful and the deviant is put on display.