Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Visual Art


2 Oct 202018 Feb 2021


Marfa, Texas


Lisa Alvarado, Pia Camil, Jeffrey Gibson, Byron Kim, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Hank Willis Thomas, Naama Tsabar, Cecilia Vicuña

This fall Ballroom Marfa presents an outdoor exhibition from October 2, 2020 through February 18, 2021 that features new commissions from eight noted artists. Each artist has created a flag accompanied by a sound-based work that will be on view individually for two weeks, rotating through each artist in the series from October to January. Artists include: Lisa Alvarado, Pia Camil, Jeffrey Gibson, Byron Kim, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Hank Willis Thomas, Naama Tsabar, and Cecilia Vicuña.

The exhibition unFlagging reconsiders flags and their symbolic meaning in our collective consciousness and country, today. Flags communicate beliefs and values in the public landscape. They are inherently performative–they declare, demarcate, and signal. As citizens, we learn to raise them, lower them, fold them, sing to them, and respect them.

The customary use of flags as vehicles to uphold and perform established principles can be challenged. The recent ruling to remove and reexamine Mississippi’s state flag, which displays confederate iconography, for example, reveals not only the power and importance of these symbolic objects, but a shift in consciousness. In this time of social transformation, we invite artists to rethink the immutability and nature of flags. How is meaning constructed, produced, and perpetuated? Can we invent new ways to make symbols and meanings?

Animated by the wind, rain, and light of West Texas, these artists’ flags reflect change and challenge constancy. Visual elements of design, color, and shape are all considered in each flag to create a multiplicity of readings. Additionally, the accompanying sound works are not a singular song sung in allegiance; rather, each artist creates a sonic environment that further activates Ballroom’s courtyard to engage with their particular flag. There is a shared experience around sound, reminding us of the multitude of voices that create space for public discourse. 

This exhibition is organized by Laura Copelin, curator-at-large, Sarah Melendez, programs director, and Daisy Nam, curator.

Schedule of Flags

Each flag and sound installation will rotate every two weeks

Oct 2: Cecilia Vicuña
Oct 16: Byron Kim
Oct 30: Hank Willis Thomas
Nov 13: Pia Camil
Nov 27: Jeffrey Gibson
Dec 11:  Lisa Alvarado
Dec 25: Naama Tsabar
Jan 22: Kameelah Janan Rasheed

While Ballroom’s indoor gallery spaces remain temporarily closed, audiences can engage with unFlagging from a safe distance, outdoors.


Installation images