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Ballroom Curator Laura Copelin at Frieze

6 Oct 2016

Borderlands : The DesertBallroom Marfa Curator Laura Copelin at Frieze

From seminal Land Art projects like Michael Heizer’s Double Negative and James Turrell’s Roden Crater; to the proliferation of artists’ projects in Marfa, Texas; to Jananne Al-Ani’s films of remote landscapes of the Middle East that have been scarred by war, to Ben Rivers’s most recent project, set in the Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, the unique and sometimes bizarre landscapes of the desert have served as fertile ground for artists, writers and filmmakers alike. What are the utopian and dystopian qualities of the desert that draw artists over generations? In this panel discussion, curator and writer Shumon Basar discusses the ‘desert imaginary’ with artist Jananne Al-Ani, Ballroom Marfa curator Laura Copelin,

The History Man: Tom Morton Interviews Rashid Johnson

23 Oct 2014

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Shea Butter Irrigation System, 2013, the Ballroom, Marfacentral pivot irrigation unit, shea butter, black soap, wax, 4.2 × 2.7 × 3.4 m. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London; photograph: Fredrik Nilsen.

Tom Morton interviews artist Rashid Johnson in the current issue of Frieze about fiction, humor, and homage in regards to his artistic process. The conversation presents an overview of themes that interweave through Johnson’s sculptures, wall assemblages, films, and performances, including a brief discussion about a piece Johnson created for his show at Ballroom in 2013. A contributing editor, writer and curator for Frieze Magazine, Tom Morton will be the curator of Ballroom’s upcoming Fall 2015 group exhibition, Äppärät.

An excerpt from

TM Your sculptures are overwhelmingly made for – and often allude to – interior spaces. One exception is Shea Butter Irrigation System (2013), created for the courtyard of the Ballroom, Marfa, in which an agricultural irrigation rig was adapted to anoint the Texas desert with melting gobbets of shea butter, black soap and wax. Does the idea of making further open-air sculptures interest you?

RJ I’d love to get outside again. That piece was a huge learning experience for me. So much of my material is intended to live inside. Maybe I’m agoraphobic, so it would make sense that my art is too! I love small interior spaces, where you can lay down with a book and nerd out. Being in a big open space is intimidating to me, in art and in life.

Trevor Paglen at Frieze London

17 Oct 2013

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For those of you lucky enough to be in London for Frieze this weekend, make sure to stop by Altman Siegel‘s booth to see artist Trevor Paglen’s new work: Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite. Paglen, whose work is currently part of Ballroom’s Quiet Earth exhibition in New York, is one of the most cerebral contemporary artists, examining topics as varied as geography, the United States military, and space travel.

The kinetic sculpture and model, Prototype, represents a significant departure for Paglen (least of all because he is primarily known as a photographer). As noted by the gallery, while Paglen usually documents “the clandestine world of covert military operations,” here “he is using the engineering funded by this vast military industrial complex to create public sculpture. Thus, drawing our attention to the non-military potential of technology.”
Paglen transforms what would usually be viewed as a scientific object, into a work of art; consciously putting “aerospace engineering into conversation with the legacy of minimalist sculpture, earthworks, and formalism in general.” And like most works of art, it really should be experienced in person (but a .gif is good too).

In the next step of the process, the clarifier (2), solid particles settle to the floor as sludge and purified water can be returned to the environmentOther activities took place during the workshop where the mothers spoke about the issues they face most in raising their children as well as their success stories.
Kris Works and Tevin Grouse led all scorers and Works was chosen player of the game.

The food at Georgia’s is pretty much the same as what Shoemaker cooked in the kitchen of her Lake Forest home for her family and for a sideline catering business she had started in the mid 1970s.
The city’s acting fire chief has said crews are stringing a cable through the railcars and securing it to bulldozers on land.

Tom Morton on Rashid Johnson: Infinite Blackness

4 Mar 2013

The Moment of Creation, 2011
Mirrored tile, black soap, wax, vinyl, CB radio, plant, books, oyster shells, shea butter, books, space rocks, ink jet photograph on glass
182.9 x 335.3 x 29.8 cm / 72 x 132 x 11 3/4 in

Recommended reading from Parkett 90: Infinite Blackness by Tom Morton of magazine. An excerpt:

Johnson’s sculptures, photographs, and videos proceed through reference and sheer density of information. His best-known works, shelf-like wall pieces such as Wanted (2011), gather together found items that allude variously to African American intellectual history, pop culture, the anointing of the skin, the free circulation of ideas, and the unstable stuff of value. Stacked books are a regular feature, here, their titles (The Souls of Black Folk, Death by Black Hole, Time Flies) and prominent African American authors (sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the complicatedly conservative comedian Bill Cosby) speaking of whole explosive cosmoses contained within their covers, like energy packed in a hydrogen atom. LP sleeves are also common, including artists like the psychedelic funk outfit Parliament and soul singer turned pastor Al Green. Shea butter is also common—the substance is derived from the African shea nut that is used in moisturizers and cosmetics, in Johnson’s work it recalls Joseph Beuys’ magically charged measures of fat. Houseplants also appear on the shelves, alongside CB radios and ordinary stones transformed into “space rocks” by a coat of gold spray paint. Taken together, we might imagine these things as agents of change. By their grace, a mind is expanded, and a soul gladdened. Rough skin is softened, and carbon dioxide transformed into oxygen. A silence is broken, and dull geology gleams and glitters.

Keep reading, via Hauser & Wirth.