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.
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.