Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Visual Art

AutoBody Featuring North of South, West of East

30 Sep 201112 Feb 2012


Marfa, Texas


Meredith Danluck  |  Liz Cohen  |  Matthew Day Jackson  |  Jonathan Schipper

AutoBody, an exhibition curated by Neville Wakefield, explored the mythology of the American automobile in industry and art. From Robert Frank to Richard Prince, the automobile has been a driving force of American freedom, a promise of escape, and 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-fashioned idea: freedom.” The American dream that it once represented may, like the car itself, be turning obsolete.

AutoBody featured a newly commissioned four-channel video work by emerging artist Meredith Danluck and produced by Matthew Shattuck, North of South, West of East. Shot on location in Detroit, Michigan and Marfa, Texas, North of South, West of East uses the car as an entry point to explore archetypes of the Cowboy, the Rebel, the Immigrant, and the Actress. Each of the four character’s past, present, and future plays out on separate screens at the same time, pointing to the chronic existential crisis that is American identity. Marfa local punk band Solid Waste and New York musician John Carpenter were featured on the film’s soundtrack.

Works by Liz Cohen, Matthew Day Jackson, and Jonathan Schipper accompanied Danluck’s film installation. Ballroom Marfa was at one time a body shop. Drawing on this history, AutoBody was presented as a car showroom—a place where objects of destruction and desire embody fantasy, speculation, and promises of freedom.


Official trailer for North of South, West of East. Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa.