Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Ballroom’s 2016 Benefit Auction is LIVE!

4 Nov 2016

Rashid Johnson The Crowd, 2016

Rashid Johnson
The Crowd, 2016

As part of our upcoming New York Gala honoring David Byrne and Jill Soloway, Ballroom Marfa and Paddle8 invite you to join us for an in-person and online benefit auction. Online bidding begins TODAY, Friday November 4, 2016, and closes at 10pm on Monday November 14. Bidding on select works will conclude as part of the live auction at the November 14 New York Gala. For details on specific lots, please visit Paddle8. The auction features works by John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Tara Donovan, Sam Falls, Loie Hollowell, Rashid Johnson, Paul McCarthy, Ed Ruscha, Yutaka Sone, Leo Villareal, Mary Weatherford, and more. See full list of available auction items by clicking here. All proceeds from the auction will support Ballroom Marfa as we continue to produce ambitious exhibitions; commission extraordinary works that are site-specific and site-inspired; enable profound cultural happenings and connections; and share the landscape of the Big Bend with a diversity of artists and musicians.
Larry Bell SF 6.16.12A, 2012

Larry Bell
SF 6.16.12A, 2012

Loie Hollowell Lingam Twist in Red and Green, 2016

Loie Hollowell
Lingam Twist in Red and Green, 2016

Mary Weatherford Union Avenue, 2012

Mary Weatherford
Union Avenue, 2012

Leo Villareal Target, 2016

Leo Villareal
Target, 2016

Michael Dopp Untitled, 2016

Michael Dopp
Untitled, 2016

Sam Falls Untitled (Absentee 2), 2013 Sam Falls
Untitled (Absentee 2),

Rashid Johnson’s Studio Rituals and the Sounds of the Future

16 Dec 2014

In 2009, Sarah Trigg, a visual artist, embarked on an investigation within the United States, interviewing more than 200 artists in their studios. She met with a wide range of practitioners — from painters to performance artists — of various locations, backgrounds, and career stages to create a behind-the-scenes survey of artmaking today. One of her subjects was Rashid Johnson, whose solo show New Growth was at Ballroom in 2013. An excerpt from their conversation:

Another act that has become part of the ritual of pouring the heated material [to create Johnson’s sculptures] is listening to Eric Dolphy’s “Improvisations and Tukras,” from the album Other Aspects (also the title of one of Johnson’s past exhibitions). To get a sense of what Johnson experiences, I played the record while shooting. Despite much effort, Johnson has not found any other music resembling this song’s specific trancelike feel and syncopated rhythm — whether in jazz, traditional African music, or the rest of Dolphy’s work. It’s as if it had arrived from an otherworldly source. “For me,” said Johnson,

The History Man: Tom Morton Interviews Rashid Johnson

23 Oct 2014


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.

Rashid Johnson at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles

8 Oct 2014


Plateaus, 2014, (alternate view). Courtesy: David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photos: Martin Parsek.

Rashid Johnson’s two-part exhibition Islands is still on display at David Gordansky Gallery in Los Angeles until October 29th. In his third solo-show at the gallery, the Ballroom Marfa alum features new wall- and floor-based sculptures including a “hollow fifteen-foot high pyramid, shaped vitrine-like tables, and erratically contoured shelf-works.”

From David Kordansky:

Broadly taking a cue from Richard Wright’s novel Native Son, and its antiheroic characterization of the African-American male, the sculptures embody an extreme unbound energy. In structure, material, and process, they express a tension unprecedented in Johnson’s practice. regularly reimagines popular narratives that shape contemporary African-American identity, remixing them with his own personal history, and his growing lexicon of formal signifiers.

Last Chance to See Rashid Johnson in Athens

27 Aug 2014

Installation view of Magic Numbers. Courtesy of The George Economou Collection.

Installation view of Magic Numbers. Courtesy of The George Economou Collection.

For all our friends in Greece: Ballroom Marfa alumnus Rashid Johnson’s show at The George Economou Collection Space in Athens closes tomorrow. Entitled Magic Numbers, the show features several site-specific installation works that “[immerse] visitors in a visual cosmology that ricochets between diverse cultural allusions and formal traditions.”

More from The George Economou Collection:

This exhibition foregrounds the singular symbolic language of American artist Rashid Johnson…the installation opens with a constellation of works forged from Johnson’s signature vocabulary of materials suffused with personal and historical resonances… Together, the works in the exhibition channel Johnson’s current preoccupation with notions of hybridity and metamorphosis, cohering into an immersive environment freighted with narrative possibilities.

If you happen to be in Athens this week, Magic Numbers is not to be missed.

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Rashid Johnson: New Growth at MCA Denver

9 Dec 2013


We’re excited to announce that Ballroom Marfa’s spring 2013 exhibition, Rashid Johnson’s New Growth will be traveling to Museum of Contemporary Art Denver this February. The solo exhibition will feature works by Johnson, including the film Samuel in Space and the Shea Butter Irrigation System, both of which were commissioned by Ballroom and produced during Johnson’s stay in Marfa.

Johnson begins the exhibition with the question “What would happen if Sun Ra, George Washington Carver and Robert Smithson started a community together in the desert?” and proceeds to construct that imagined escape using “personally and historically loaded material” such as shea butter and black soap, as well as LP covers and books “in an attempt to blur the lines separating past, present and future.”

Rashid Johnson: New Growth opens on February 21, 2014 at MCA Denver and continues until June 15, 2014.

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An Introduction to Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

12 Jun 2013


Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song screens at 8pm on 12 June 2013 at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas as part of Ballroom’s New Growth Film Program, co-curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel, MoMA. Admission is free and open to the public.

Note: For this screening, viewers under 17 will require an accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is Melvin Van Peebles third movie, which he wrote, directed, produced, composed music for and starred in. Dedicated to “all the sisters and brothers who had enough of the man,” the film follows a young African American man on his flight from white authority. No studio would agree to fund the film, so Van Peebles financed it independently, shooting over a 19-day period, performing his own stunts and several unsimulated sex scenes. Sweet Sweetback is hailed as the beginning of blaxpoloitation as a genre and Van Peebles refused to submit the film to the all-white MPAA ratings board for approval. His opinion was that they were not a jury of his peers and they’d been approving crippling images of people of color for years, so why let them dictate his cinematic agenda? In the end, the film received an X-rating and Van Peebles made T-shirts that read “Rated X by an all white jury,” and incorporated it into his marketing campaign.

In the book Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song: A Guerilla Filmmaking Manifesto, Van Peebles recounts that the idea for the film materialized during his first soul-searching and auto-erotic trip to the Mojave Desert. Looking out at the at an endless row of electric pylons sandwiched by sky and land, he thought it through:

The New Growth Film Program Concludes: Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song Tonight!


Ballroom Marfa’s New Growth Film Program concludes this Wednesday, 12 June 2013 with Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971).

Note: For this screening, viewers under 17 will require an accompanying parent or adult guardian.

All screenings are free and open to the public. Films begin at 8pm at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas.

The New Growth Film program is co-curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel, MoMA.

Special thanks to Jennifer Bell, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, the Crowley Theater and Josh Siegel.

New Growth Film Program

Poster designed by Rob Chabebe of EyeBodega

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An Introduction to The Brother from Another Planet

5 Jun 2013

The Brother from Another Planet screens at 8pm on 5 June 2013 at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas as part of Ballroom’s New Growth Film Program, co-curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel, MoMA. Admission is free and open to the public.

An Introduction to John Sayles’ The Brother from Another Planet

Last week’s film, Space Is the Place, extolled the virtues of a transcendent science fiction aimed at elevating the black population beyond its earthbound social state to the forgotten and immortal path beyond the stars through music. This week’s film, The Brother from Another Planet, inverts Sun Ra’s Afro-futurist and escapist rhetoric, offering a parabolic albeit comedic exploration of life in Harlem in 1984.

Written, directed and edited by independent filmmaker John Sayles, The Brother from Another Planet stars Joe Morton as an escaped slave from outer space, who resembles a black human being everywhere except in his feet. He lands in the ocean off of Ellis Island and blankly makes his way to Harlem where he must quickly learn about an abstract monetary system, class struggle and racial divide without using language, as he cannot speak. Sayles’ choice to make him mute turns the brother into a sort of mirror for society and leads to nuanced satire on immigration and assimilation.