Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Ballroom Marfa and Tito’s Vodka Cocktail Reception This Friday!

9 Oct 2014

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler Installation View,    Giant 2014 High Definition Video with Sound Duration: 30 min.  Synchronized 3-Channel Projection Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery,    New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery,    Austin Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa Photo Credit: Frederik Nilsen

Ballroom Marfa and Tito’s Vodka Cocktail Reception
Friday, October 10 from 6-8pm

Ballroom Marfa invites you to join us in welcoming Executive Director Susan Sutton at a Sound Speed Marker cocktail reception this Chinati Weekend. We’ll be serving beer, wine and Tito’s vodka cocktails in the gallery to go along with the continuing Sound Speed Marker exhibition from Hubbard/Birchler.

Sutton, a regular visitor to Far West Texas, joins us here in Marfa after a four-year tenure at Houston’s Menil Collection. Read more about our new executive director here.

Sound Speed Marker documents sites of forgotten film history in Texas with photography, sculpture and three video installations in the Ballroom Marfa gallery. As Alexander Birchler told Irina Arnaut in a recent interview in Bomb Magazine,

Over the course of developing the component works for Sound Speed Marker, we considered a number of different sites around the country and even a couple of sites in Europe. The three sites we chose to commit to and explore over time were challenging and resonant for us on a number of exciting and unknown levels. They all share the potential of a curiously missed mark – we’re visiting these sites at the wrong time.

Hubbard/Birchler’s Sound Speed Marker will be on view at Ballroom Marfa until October 26. The exhibition will then travel to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in December 2014 and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston in May 2015.

Summer Field Recordings: Marfa Silly News

7 Aug 2014

Early last month, we were lucky enough to work with Marfa Public Radio and Dixon Water Foundation to present Summer Field Recordings, a workshop in conjunction with Marfa ISD’s Summer Shakeup program. Students were able to investigate Mimm’s Ranch while experimenting with recording equipment and documenting their experiences. The project was inspired by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s cinematic exploration of the Far West Texas landscape, but it turned into something a good deal sillier.

To see what we mean, check out the final product, Marfa Silly News:

Marfa Silly News from Ballroom Marfa on Vimeo.

Support for this program provided by The Dixon Water Foundation and the Texas Commission on the Arts, with generous contributions by Ballroom Marfa members.

Special thanks to Sally Beauvais, The Big Bend Sentinel, Michael Camacho, Jennifer Bell and Tim Crowley of the Crowley Theater, Tim Johnson, Marfa Book Company, Marfa ISD, Marfa Public Radio, Tom Michael, Andrew Peters, Robert Potts, Alice Quinlan, Suzy Simon, Casey Wade, and Sam Winks.

McCoy could make no similar claim against Egan for his six years on the because, until recently, Egan never filed the required disclosures with the district and state education commissionerA team of youth volunteers distributed pamphlets and performed street plays for the benefit of passengers. His other score was a course record tying 61 in the second round Friday. in 1733, although he had probably settled on that land much earlier. Inspected on April 3; 11 violations,

Hubbard/Birchler in “Bomb”

8 Jul 2014

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler Installation View, Giant 2014 High Definition Video with Sound Duration: 30 min. Synchronized 3-Channel Projection Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa Photo Credit: Frederik Nilsen
Giant, 2014. Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler
High Definition video with sound 30min., loop. Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin. Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa

Irina Arnaut for Bomb recently interviewed artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, whose solo exhibition Sound, Speed, Marker is currently on view at Ballroom. In it they discuss the making of their work Eight, Eighteen, as well as the three films included in the exhibition (Grand Paris Texas, Movie Mountain (Méliès), and Giant).

An excerpt:

Irina Arnaut: At the end of Giant, the secretary who’s been writing up the contract, gazes thoughtfully out the window and then looks directly at the camera/viewer. I wondered about that for a long time. Usually with a movie you think of the lead actors and directors first, then perhaps cinematographers, producers, and so forth—never really the secretary who drew up the production contract. Throughout your Giant, this secretary is the only person we ever associate with the 1956 production of Giant. So in a way she comes to represent the making of the 1956 Giant. When she looks directly at the camera, I couldn’t tell what she was thinking or what she meant except to claim her presence or existence—not confrontational, but certainly assertive. Were you interested in deconstructing or rearranging power dynamics often associated with the movies?

Teresa Hubbard: This is a perceptive insight about the secretary’s stance. She is the presence and placeholder for what is absent, yet she wears and alters this representation through the unfolding of the narrative.

Alexander Birchler: There are several moments throughout Giant—indeed in all the works we’ve been talking about in Sound Speed Marker, as well as Eight, Eighteen—where we consciously break the fourth wall, and, in different ways, employ strategies of Brecht’s distancing effect, or Verfremdungseffekt. We are interested in establishing a terrain that offers immersion for the viewer, in order to twist and entangle that kind of viewing position with other meta-positions.

Glasstire on “Sound, Speed, Marker”

18 Apr 2014


Giant, 2014. Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler
High Definition video with sound 30min., loop. Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin. Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa

Glasstire recently reviewed Ballroom’s current exhibition, Hubbard/Birchler’s Sound, Speed, Marker. An excerpt:

The evolution from documentation to dispersion is fulfilled in the last video, Giant (2014), which was commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. It is shown in the largest space, on three screens that fill the long wall in the gallery. When we see a continuous image across this expanse, the extreme horizontal aspect ratio calls to mind the epic grandeur of the eponymous 1956 film itself. Hubbard and Birchler’s formidable technical prowess allows them to capture stunning shots of the landscape, sunsets, thunderstorms, even ants swarming a dead grasshopper. The site of these natural wonders is an abandoned film set constructed by Warner Brothers for the original Giant. Now it is merely a skeletal ruin perched in the landscape, an armature about which the degradations of nature continue unabated.

Its role as an armature is twofold. It is a frame through which we see the landscape, in the present, and it is a relic, through which Hubbard and Birchler imagine the drafting of the contract between Warner Brothers and the land owner on which the structure was to be built. Giant cuts back and forth between these two scenarios. They introduce a new element that was absent from the previous two videos, historical reconstruction. A secretary in a sunny office in February 1955 sits at her typewriter, consulting the shorthand on her notepad, typing up the contract. We get extreme closeups of the typewriter mechanisms, the keys striking the paper, the carriage return; the secretary, all lipstick and eyeliner, smokes, is visited by a male supervisor, and gazes wistfully out the window for some reason.

Giant dispenses with spoken language altogether, and the convention of talking-head interviews. There are no “real” people telling their stories. The site of the historical movie is not defined by absence, as in the previous two videos. Instead, the history is concrete and well documented, which seems to grant license to Hubbard and Birchler to push further away from narrative. In this, they achieve fantastic visual pleasure with the landscape scenes in the present.

Continue reading over at Glasstire.

In Conversation with Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler

4 Apr 2014

Image by Fredrik Nilsen.

During the second month of Hubbard/Birchler’s exhibition, Sound Speed Marker, Ballroom Marfa’s intern, Francesca Altamura, spoke with the artist duo about the works featured in the exhibition, comprising of three films, nine photographs and an installation located in the courtyard.

Teresa Hubbard, born in Dublin, Ireland 1965 and and Alexander Birchler, born in Baden, Switzerland 1962 have been working collaboratively in video, photography and sculpture since 1990. The exhibition Sound Speed Marker will be on view at Ballroom Marfa until July 31, 2014, traveling next to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland in December 2014 and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, Texas in May 2015.

Francesca Altamura: How would you describe the three featured video works, Grand Paris Texas (2009), Movie Mountain (Méliès) (2011) and Giant (2014) to viewers who may not have been introduced to your work before?

Alexander Birchler: There are three video installations, a trilogy, presented at Ballroom, including the premiere of Giant which was commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. All three works explore, in different ways, the physical and social traces that movies and movie making leaves behind.

FA: How has living in Austin, influenced the direction of your current, and future, works?

Teresa Hubbard: We’ve lived and worked in many places and we’ve moved around a lot over the time we’ve known each other — different cities and towns in Canada, Switzerland, Germany and the United States. During the past decade that we’ve been primarily based in Austin, we’ve gotten close to a number of people who are also based in Austin, and they work with us during the research phase, on location and in post production. These are long-term relationships which we really appreciate and have become such an important part of our community.

FA: What was your initial intrigue with the films Paris, Texas and Giant (1956)? Do these films evoke a sense of nostalgic reminiscence for you both?

“Movie Mountain (Méliès)” in the Hudspeth County Herald

20 Feb 2014

Movie Mountain (Méliès), 2011 Production still High definition video with sound

Movie Mountain (Méliès), 2011
Production still
High definition video with sound

Drew Stuart, editor of the Hudspeth County Herald, writes about the 2011 installation of Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s Movie Mountain (Méliès) at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. The film documents the forgotten history of an otherwise unremarkable geographic feature outside of Sierra Blanca, and Stuart speaks with John Elder, one of the Hudspeth County residents participating in the project. Movie Mountain (Méliès) will screen alongside 2009’s Grand Paris Texas and the premiere of the Ballroom Marfa-commissioned Giant as part of Sound Speed Marker, opening here in Marfa on February 28, 2014.

From the January 28, 2011 edition of the Herald

Featuring Sierra Blanca Residents, Movie Mountain Film Screens in Manhattan

This month and next a group of Sierra Blanca-area residents are making their presence felt almost 2,000 miles, in a rather unlikely location: a gallery in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Méliès, a film by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, opened at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Jan. 8, and screenings will continue through Feb. 5. The film focuses on Movie Mountain, an unassuming peak northeast of Sierra Blanca; the film uses conversations with local residents to explore that peak’s somewhat shadowy connection to the silent-movie era.

Hudspeth County residents included in the 24-minute movie include David Armstrong, Kit Bramblett, John Elder, Tom D. Ellison, Gary Jennings, Ben Lowry, Julio Marta, Sara Marta, Tom Neely, Christina Ramirez and James Rush. The New York Times printed a positive review of the film on Jan. 13, describing it as “beautifully made.”

Located on old McAdoo ranch land, the peak has been known as Movie Mountain for many decades. According to local lore, a silent-film crew shot footage at the hill in the early part of the 20th century. Local memories of the filming are scant on details, and footage from a film at Movie Mountain has not been found or identified.

Sound Speed Marker En Español

17 Feb 2014

Giant, 2014
Production still
High definition video with sound

Sound Speed Marker
Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler
28 de Febrero de 2014 – 31 de Julio de 2014

Inauguración: 28 de febrero, 6–8 pm
Con tacos hechos por Fat Lyle´s y cerveza de Big Bend Brewing Company


A Ballroom Marfa le complace presentar Sound Speed Marker, de Teresa Hubbard y Alexander Birchler. Las tres instalaciones de video y las fotografías relacionadas, cubren un periodo de cinco años de trabajo, exploran la relación de la filmación con un lugar en concreto y los rastros que dejan la realización de películas. La exposición incluye el estreno de Giant (2014), una obra comisionada por Ballroom Marfa. Se podrá ver la exposición en Ballroom Marfa hasta el 31 de julio de 2014, que será acompañada por un catálogo integral que se publicará en diciembre de 2014. Sound Speed Marker viajará al Museo Irlandés de Arte Moderno en diciembre de 2014 y luego al Museo de Arte Blaffer en la Universidad de Houston en mayo de 2015.

Grand Paris Texas (2009) toma en consideración el espacio físico y social de un cine muerto, una canción olvidada y los habitantes de una pequeña ciudad. El Gran Teatro, un cine abandonado y lleno de palomas en el centro de París, sirve como protagonista de una narrativa que explora París como una metalocalización construida a través del celuloide y las bandas sonoras. Grand Paris Texas conecta tres películas seminales del sudoeste: Paris, Texas (1984) de Wim Wenders; Tender Mercies (1983) de Bruce Beresford; y la memorable película muda de King Baggot, Tumbleweeds (1925).

En Movie Mountain (Méliès) (2011), Hubbard/Birchler exploran el emplazamiento de una montaña en el Desierto Chihuahuense cerca de la ciudad de Sierra Blanca. El proyecto genera varios hilos narrativos que entremezclan la memoria y el olvido. Movie Mountain (Méliès) presenta a un vaquero que escribe guiones así como a residentes cuyos familiares actuaron en una película muda original rodada en la montaña. El proyecto también encuentra un posible vínculo entre Movie Mountain y Gaston Méliès, hermano del famoso cineasta Georges Méliès.

Giant (2014) entreteje las señales de vida y las vistas de un plató cinematográfico en decadencia construido en las afueras de Marfa: la Mansión Reata de la película de 1956 de la Warner Bros., Giant, protagonizado por Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson y James Dean. Tras la finalización del rodaje se dejó en el paisaje la fachada de tres lados. Hubbard/Birchler exploran los restos esqueléticos del plató a medida que cambian las estaciones, el día se transforma en noche y partes de la estructura se balancean y caen desprendidas. Unas escenas de un equipo de rodaje que graba las actuales condiciones aparecen yuxtapuestas con un despacho de la Warner Bros. en 1955, en el que una secretaria mecanografía el contrato de localización para la película que aún no ha sido creada.

Teresa Hubbard, nacida en Dublín, Irlanda, en 1965, y Alexander Birchler, nacido en Baden, Suiza, en 1962, llevan desde 1990 trabajando en colaboración en el video, la fotografía y la escultura. Su obra se encuentra en numerosas colecciones privadas y públicas incluyendo el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo en Los Ángeles; el Museo Hirshhorn y Jardín de Esculturas en Washington DC; el Kunstmuseum en Basilea; el Kunsthaus en Zurich; el Museo de Arte Moderno en Fort Worth; el Museo de Bellas Artes en Houston; el Museo de Arte en Yokohama; y la Pinakothek der Moderne en Munich. La obra en esta exposición aparece por cortesía de la Galería Tanya Bonakdar en Nueva York y la Galería Lora Reynolds en Austin.

Forma parte de la misión de Ballroom Marfa hacer posible la creación de obras de arte que en otro lugar serían imposibles de realizar. Este proyecto –con sus raíces en el paisaje que nosotros llamamos hogar– cierra la trilogía de Hubbard/Birchler y esclarece el papel de Ballroom Marfa como una organización comprometida con el encargo de nuevas obras.

Hubbard/Birchler’s “Eight, Eighteen” at Tanya Bonakdar

7 Feb 2014


Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler Eighteen, 2013. UHD Video with Sound. Duration: 18 min 30 sec, loop. Installation dimensions variable. Image copyright of the artists. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery Austin.

If you missed Hubbard/Birchler’s Eight, Eighteen at the Linda Pace Foundation in October, you’re in luck! The video exhibition will be opening on February 15 at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York City; so be sure to see it before heading out to Marfa for the artists’ upcoming exhibition Sound Speed Marker at Ballroom.

From our previous blog post about Eight, Eighteen:

Eight, Eighteen consists of two films: Eight from 2001, which revolves around the birthday of an eight-year-old girl and Eighteen (2013), which follows the same subject, only 10 years later on her 18th birthday. Due to video looping, changing locations, and the non-linear and disjointed narrative present in both films, the viewer is forced to question what is fact and what is fiction, leading one to examine the larger theme at the core of Hubbard/Birchler’s work: the subtleties found in cinema’s components and within its history.

Eight, Eighteen opens on February 15 and closes March 15, 2014 at Tanya Bonakdar in NYC.
Sound Speed Marker will premiere on February 28th and the installation will run until July 31st,