Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Glasstire Loves Cinemarfa

20 May 2013


Glasstire just posted the second article in a two-part series on CineMarfa, the film festival founded by Marfa residents David Hollander and Jennifer Lane in 2011. In short, Glasstire’s Peter Lucas was feeling it. From CineMarfa 2013 (Part 1: The Festival)

“Because it is relatively small, free, laid back, and has an audience heavy in artists and cultural investigators, there was little distinction between the intermingling festival organizers, official guests, and audience members – all of whom were there simply to see films and to share their thoughts and ideas. (Of course, that should be the case at all film festivals, but believe me, it’s rare.) Discussions about the films, and art and life in general, spilled out between screenings onto the front steps, and in pockets at the Lost Horse Saloon and Padre’s Bar and Grill, at the festival’s rooftop cocktail hour at Hotel Paisano and the closing party at the Chicken Coop.”

Lucas also provides an enthusiastic assessment of the festival’s programming in CineMarfa 2013 (Part 2: The Films), including a look at the work of local filmmaker (recently seen in the role of Staff Sgt. Baldy in “Devils at Play”) Joe Cashiola …

West Texas Cloud Appreciation Society, a Texas-paced, work-in-progress documentary essay by Marfa-based filmmaker Joseph Cashiola, provided glimpses of the area’s diversity of characters and happenings—from ranching and cowboy poetry to punk rock house parties, UFO conventions, and art parades. The wilder life is brought down to earth with shots of the landscape and sky, and by scenes with folks like Marfa bar owner Ty Mitchell and Valentine, Texas artist Boyd Elder. This painted an intriguing portrait of the unique planet that is West Texas, and its screening being packed with enthusiastic locals reminded me that I was in the middle of it.”

In other film news, the Marfa Film Festival is gearing up for its return on June 26, and here at the Ballroom we’re putting the finishing touches on the New Growth film program, curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel. And, of course, we’re looking forward to the arrival of Alix Pearlstein in July as part of the Artists’ Films International program. Stay tuned for more information.

Virtual Ballroom

23 Apr 2013

View Larger Map

Just in case you’re not joining the army of 60 Minutes tourists who are expected here in our quiet Far West Texas town any day now, you can now take a virtual tour of our gallery space and Rashid Johnson’s New Growth solo exhibition via Google Maps.

And if you do come by IRL, just a reminder: New Growth is on view until 7 July 2013 — and the Ballroom gallery is open with free admission Wednesday through Saturday, 10a–6p and Sunday, 10a–3p.

Whitewall Talks to Rashid Johnson About Curating Sam Gilliam

16 Apr 2013


From Whitewall‘s recent “Curator Q&A” with Rashid Johnson. Sam Gilliam: Hard-Edge Paintings 1963-1966, curated by Johnson, is on display at the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles until 11 May 2013.

“WW: What do you feel is the currency and the relevancy of these works from the mid-‘60s, these Hard-edge paintings. Why did you want to show them?

RJ: I was interested in, and continue to be interested in, Sam’s entire body of work. I think the reason that I reached into these particular works is that they’re even less familiar than the work that people are familiar with, if they are at all familiar with his work. The Hard-edge paintings were works that I was less familiar with.

I think they’re relevant in a couple different ways. There are some artists functioning in similar ways today. If you get a chance to go to some young artists’ studios today, you’ll see that there’s an interest in Frank Stella, an interest in Barnett Newman, and a lot of young artists are exploring similar directions as these painters. Also, there’s this idea of the escapist tactic that’s been employed in Sam’s work. If you think about the time in which he’s making these paintings—Kennedy gets assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated shortly after that period—and you have a guy living in Washington, D.C., right in the heart of a lot of this discourse, choosing to avoid it. It’s, in its own way, a form of protest. As an artist, as a person considering their environment, from my generation, you would look at the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and how do artists function and build bodies of work that don’t necessarily address those issues specifically, but are somehow happening at the same time as those things are.”

Keep reading at Whitewall.

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New Growth en Español

14 Mar 2013

Rashid Johnson New Growth

Many thanks to Ballroom Marfa intern Cristina Garcés for this translation

Ballroom Marfa está orgulloso de anunciar la inauguración, de New Growth, una exposición
individual del nuevo trabajo de Rashid Johnson, el 8 de mayo. En ella, Johnson combina desde
un punto de vista personal e histórico materiales de la tierra, como manteca de Karité y jabón
negro con otros objetos como pueden ser portadas de discos y libros en complejas instalaciones
que confunden la uniformidad de la identidad colectiva y la representación multicultural.
Partiendo de la pregunta, “Qué pasaría si Sun Ra, George Washington, Carver y Robert Smitth
crearan una comunidad juntos en el desierto?” New Growth’s juega entrelazando cosmología,
evasión e irrigación en una recontextualización de las líneas entre el pasado, presente y futuro
en el desierto de Marfa.

La manipulación física del biomaterial en una forma abstracta y estetizada es un concepto que
se manifiesta a través de las obras expuestas, con referencias a la constante transformación y
rehabilitación de los cuerpos, los paisajes y las identidades incrustadas en ellos. Esto se aprecia
de manera más dramática en la instalación al aire libre en la que se riega la arena bañada por el
sol del patio con manteca de karité: la terraformación de Arrakis funciona en miniatura aquí en
los pastizales del desierto del lejano West Texas.

En consonancia con los objetivos de Ballroom Marfa, New Growth, contará con un nuevo trabajo
comisariado que incluye el vídeo Samuel in Space y Shea Butter Irrigation System -ambos
producidos durante la estancia del artista en Marfa. Obras en cera, madera quemada, azulejos y
espejos así como sillas de metal, madera y alfombras completan la exposición.

Un programa de cine comisariado por Rashid Johnson, en colaboración con Josh Siegel,
comisario del MoMA, se proyectará a lo largo de la exposición. Este programa contará
con Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) de Melvin Van Peebles, Space in the Place (1974)
de John Coney y Sun Ra y The Brother From Another Planet (1884) de John Sayles
además de una noche de cortometrajes.

Para inaugurar New Growth, Ballroom Marfa será la sede de un fin de semana de festejos,
incluyendo una noche de apertura, el 8 de marzo de 6 a 8 pm. La recepción también cuenta con
la actuación de multi-instrumentista y leyenda de la música El’Zabar Kahil y saxofonista Hamiet
Bluiett, cuyos estilos musicales van desde el avant-garde al bebop. Inmediatamente después de
la recepción de apertura tendrá lugar una cena abierta al público en el Capri. Además, el sábado
9 de marzo a las 11:30 am el artista hará una visita guiada de la exposición.

Todos los eventos son gratis y abiertos al público.

New Growth, ha sido posible gracias al apoyo de la Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual

Arts; la National Endowment for the Arts: Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston; Texas Comission
on the Arts, Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation y Hauser & Wirth Gallery que generosamente
contribuyen como socios de Ballroom Marfa.

The Seen on New Growth

13 Mar 2013

The Seen, “Chicago’s International Art & Design Blog,” reviews Rashid Johnson’s New Growth

“… The extreme dry landscape led Rashid to create his largest sculpture to date, The Shea Butter Irrigation System, an altered irrigation system, like those found in agricultural fields. Heated by the sun, the large cubes of shea butter slowly drip onto the ground. Shea butter is a moisturizing emollient derived from a plant native to West Africa and it has become one of Rashid’s signature materials for its multivalent associations with his own life, Afrocentrism, and healing properties. As the shea butter drips onto the rocky, dry Texas earth, the work questions what will metaphorically grow, with the introduction of a foreign substance such as the shea butter. The immense scale and location of this work outdoors in the Ballroom Marfa courtyard veers Rashid into the territory of land art and earthworks akin to that of Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, and Robert Morris, opening up an entirely new dialogue around his work.”

Keep reading at The Seen.

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Alex Marks strikes again

11 Mar 2013



The Polaroid series continues, with Alex Marks‘s portraits of jazz legends Hamiet Bluiett and Kahil El’Zabar. TRULY THEY ARE LEGENDS. (Once we get the file, be sure to check out Dan’s and my cursory half-hour history of their music on Marfa Public Radio, which will make you a believer.)

Bluiett and El’Zabar were kind enough to make the 7+ hour trek to Marfa to play at the New Growth opening last Friday, which was electric, and quite emotional (for me) (which I still can’t articulate fully, but was tied to how the set reflected and inspired and informed Johnson’s work), and ended with a call-and-response (!), followed by Bluiett and El’Zabar leading everyone to the community dinner (a longer walk than we anticipated).

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New Growth: Now Open!

10 Mar 2013



More photos to come next week … thx to Rob Crowley for these teasers.

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Rashid Johnson’s Courtyard Installation

7 Mar 2013

Largest Courtyard Installation in Ballroom History from Ballroom Marfa on Vimeo.

A time-lapse video of the Valley Irrigation crew setting up a central pivot irrigation system in the courtyard — the largest installation in Ballroom’s 10-year history — for Rashid Johnson’s New Growth solo exhibition. Video by Yoseff Ben-Yehuda.

Listen to Ballroom Director Fairfax Dorn’s conversation with the Brooklyn-based artist this Friday at 10am on Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten program. Then join us for the opening reception and community dinner starting at 6pm on Friday evening. An exhibition walkthrough with Johnson takes place on Saturday. Find full details at the New Growth page.

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Recent Jams from Hamiet Bluiett and Kahil El’Zabar

6 Mar 2013

On October 5, 2006, the World Saxophone Quartet, led by legendary baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, played this intense set at Lovejoy High School in the town in Illinois where Bluiett attended school six decades before.

Kahil El’Zabar and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, delivering a righteous percussive workout in 2005 at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice, Italy.

Bluiett performs with El’Zabar at the opening reception of Rashid Johnson’s New Growth, 8 March 2013, at Ballroom Marfa. Hear more music from the two icons this Friday morning at 10:30a, right after Ballroom Executive Director Fairfax Dorn’s conversation with Johnson on KRTS Marfa’s Talk at Ten.

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