Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Kenneth Tam: Silent Spikes Screening + Discussion

9 Nov 2023

Silent Spikes 

November 9, 2023, 6–7:30 PM

Cantor Auditorium
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University

Join the Cantor Arts Center and Ballroom Marfa for a special screening of Kenneth Tam’s Silent Spikes at Cantor Auditorium.

The screening will be introduced by Veronica Roberts, John and Jill Freidenrich Director, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, and will be followed by a conversation with Tam and Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa Executive Director and Curator, and Maggie Dethloff, Cantor Curator of Photography and New Media. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Kenneth Tam: All of Mon view at the Cantor Arts Center from May 31, 2023–November 12, 2023.

Free ticket reservations:

If you need a disability-related accommodation like ASL, please contact [email protected].

Silent Spikes is a work in which artist Kenneth Tam uses movement, theatrical staging, and historical narrative to question existing ideas about the performance of masculinity, and the way those normative performances become mythologized in figures like the cowboy. If the cowboy can be understood as shorthand for a set of ideas that says as much about the violent foundations of maleness in the American imagination as it does about how we celebrate the values exemplified by this figure, then where do men of Asian descent find themselves within this representational landscape? And how can sensuousness complicate these performances, and allow for an erotics of both resistance and care?

Silent Spikes explores the intersections of gender, race, and labor in the context of the intertwined histories of Westward expansion and Chinese immigration in the United States, as embodied in the building of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad. This context has special resonance on the Stanford campus, given that Leland Stanford, as president of Central Pacific Railroad Company,  employed Chinese migrants to do the more hazardous, backbreaking work of building the transcontinental railroad. Between 1863 and 1869, fifteen to twenty thousand Chinese laborers helped execute one of the most ruthless engineering ventures in American history, a colonial project that displaced countless Indigenous people and allowed the Stanfords to amass significant wealth. Interspersed throughout Silent Spikes are narrative and visual references to an 1867 strike undertaken by thousands of Chinese Transcontinental Railroad workers—the largest organized labor action in U.S. history to that point.

Tam’s video installation Silent Spikes premiered at Queens Museum, NY in 2021, and has since been presented at a number of institutions across the U.S. including Kenneth Tam: Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory, Ballroom Marfa, Oct 26, 2022–May 7, 2023.

Opening Celebrations: Perhaps the Truth

6 Oct 2023

Opening Weekend Schedule


7–10 pm: Opening of Perhaps the Truth

8:30 pm Doors: Dos Santos in the Ballroom Marfa Courtyard

10pm: Afterparty with DJ set from Daniel Villareal at The Capri


12–1:30pm: Curator-led walkthrough of Perhaps the Truth with Fairfax Dorn and Daisy Nam with poetry readings from Arden Wohl and Emmy Pérez

In celebration of Ballroom Marfa’s 20th year anniversary, we are pleased to present Perhaps the Truth, a group exhibition featuring work by Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, Jes Fan, Joel Gaitan, Florian Krewer, Rebecca Manson, Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, Jesse Murry, Robert Nava, Ilana Savdie, Kiki Smith, Astrid Terrazas, Lucía Vidales, and Issy Wood.

The public opening of Perhaps the Truth is on Friday, October 6 from 7–10pm, with a live performance from Dos Santos in Ballroom’s courtyard at 9pm, doors at 8:30pm. Following the concert, all are welcome to join the 10pm afterparty at the Capri featuring a DJ set from Daniel Villareal.

On Saturday, October 7 from 12–1:30pm, Fairfax Dorn and Daisy Nam will lead a walkthrough of the exhibition with poetry readings from Arden Wohl and Emmy Pérez.

We hope you can join us in Marfa for a memorable weekend! Ballroom exhibitions & programs are free and open to all.

DJ Camp 2023 with Chulita Vinyl Club ATX

5 Jun 2023

Summer Shake Up

DJ Camp with the Chulita Vinyl Club

🪩 🪩 🪩 🪩

Ballroom joined forces with Summer Shake Up for DJ Camp 2023, offered by Marfa ISD in collaboration with several community partner organizations. The 2023 DJ Camp was a vinyl-only workshop led by members of the Chulita Vinyl Club ATX for Marfa students in grades five through eight.

The four-day camp is designed to engage the imagination of youth from all backgrounds and introduce them to the world of vinyl. Throughout the week, students learn and practice beat-matching, mixing, scratching, and more. While offering practical experience with turntables and vinyl records, The Chulita Vinyl Club ATX also presented DJing as an art form with a rich culture and history, with portions of each class covering the history of DJ culture, music collectives, and an introduction to zine-making. Students are encouraged to use found music and images to create their own narratives, celebrating personal history and cultural exploration. 

Decolonizing the Fence at Cementerio del Barrio de Los Lipanes

3 Jun 2023

Saturday, June 3, 4 PM

Panel Discussion

Sunday, June 4, 9 AM

Architect Walk-Through

Join Ballroom Marfa and Big Bend Conservation Alliance for Decolonizing the Fence at Cementerio del Barrio de Los Lipanes held during the Agave Festival Marfa.

On Saturday, June 3rd at 4 pm, a panel discussion will be held at The Crowley Theater. Panelists will discuss the current protection project of Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes (Cemetery of the Lipan Neighborhood), a sacred site to the Lipan Apache Tribe. Panelists include Christina Hernandez, Joseph Kunkel, Xoxi Nayapiltzin, Oscar Rodriguez, and Mayrah Udvardi with moderator Annie Rosenthal of Marfa Public Radio.

On Sunday, June 4th at 9 am, an architect walk-through of El Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes will take place.

If you would like to carpool or caravan to the cemetery, meet at Marfa Visitors Center (302 S. Highland) at 7:30 am. More info here.

Opening Celebrations – unlit: sof landin & Tongues of Fire

26 May 2023

Opening Celebrations

unlit: sof landin  & Tongues of Fire

Public Opening

Friday, May 26 from 6–9pm

Artist & Curator-Led Walkthrough

Saturday, May 27 from 12–1:30pm

Join us for the Opening Celebrations of unlit: sof landin and Tongues of Fire on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, 2023. 

Opening Celebrations for the Spring 2023 exhibitions will kick off with the Public Opening on Friday, May 26 from 6–9pm with drinks and Li(sa E.) Harris performing works by Jesse Chun. Artist and curator-led walkthroughs of the exhibitions will take place on Saturday, May 27 from 12–1:30pm.

Ballroom exhibitions & programs are free and open to all!


Thank you to our event sponsor, Alta Marfa Winery.

Tongues of Fire

24 May 2023

Tongues of Fire

Jorge Méndez Blake, Jesse Chun, Adriana Corral, JJJJJerome Ellis, Nakai Flotte

“Write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues of fire.”
– Gloria Anzaldúa

Tongues of Fire is a group exhibition of artworks reflecting on language that has been suppressed, silenced, or obscured. Featured artists include Jorge Méndez Blake, Jesse Chun, Adriana Corral, JJJJJerome Ellis, and Nakai Flotte. 

The exhibition’s title is inspired by Chicana cultural theorist, writer, and poet Gloria Anzaldúa and her essay Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers (1981). Anzaldúa urges artists to “write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues of fire.” While her rallying cry was to women artists of color, who were often pushed to the margins of culture, it still resonates widely today. Artists continue to use language, including their artistic languages, as acts of creativity, resistance, and power.

As these artists demonstrate, the dominant languages and prevalent ways of speaking in our culture(s) should be questioned. The unconsidered, exiguous, and uncommon languages carry more urgency with the insistence of their letters, words, and phrases that must be uttered to remain alive. Not only is there an urgency to speak, there is also a need to listen. In order to communicate, there is a speaker and a listener. Thus, the act of sharing truths, stories, and ideas is a form of societal communion. 

The works brought together in Tongues of Fire compel us to read between the lines, and to peer into cracks—as seen in hidden poems tucked into the walls of Jorge Méndez Blake’s monumental brick sculpture. Jesse Chun looks at the history of the Blackwell School, Marfa’s formerly segregated institution that banned students from speaking Spanish. In memory of their silence, viewers may ruminate on the absence of language in Chun’s video installation and drawings. Transmissions of thoughts and emotion still find a way to rise and communicate, if we are open to receiving them. JJJJJerome Ellis invites us to attune our bodies to new ways of listening through his music, poetry, and photographs. Ellis’s own experience of disfluency is transformed in his works, no longer silenced and suppressed but thriving and celebrated. 

Control of language, of the tongue, is the control of people and bodies. Through the histories of colonization and imperialism, languages were systematically dispossessed—or continue to be. Nakai Flotte’s installation, with recordings and texts of the Lipan Apache, insists on the vitality of the community’s language and its resistance to erasure. Language as speech acts may also protect. Adriana Corral’s prints and outdoor installation feature the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written after the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust, to challenge us to continue to protect the rights of fellow human beings. Words have no currency or elicit any action without mutual agreement on what they signify, and a shared responsibility to value those meanings.

Through new rituals of reading, seeing, and listening, as the artists in Tongues of Fire present, languages are also shown to evolve. These artworks speak to us—with tongues ablaze, as Anzaldúa would wish—and remind us how to be alive. They are a testament to the potential for advocacy, humor, wonder, and pleasure we all may find through language. 

Tongues of Fire is organized by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa, Executive Director and Curator, with Alexann Susholtz, Curatorial and Exhibitions Assistant.

Closing Celebrations – Ecstatic Land & Kenneth Tam

5 May 2023

Closing Celebrations of Ecstatic Land & Kenneth Tam

You’re invited May 5–6, 2023 as we celebrate the closing of two exhibitions Ecstatic Land and Kenneth Tam: Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory.

Ecstatic Land is an exhibition and screening series that brings together a multigenerational group of artists whose works explore the intersecting vitalities of the land and self.

Kenneth Tam’s solo exhibition, Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory unearths forgotten histories in order to reimagine our own identities and to question dominant myths that shape and govern our bodies.

We hope you’ll join us!

Weekend Schedule

Friday, May 5

9:02 PM: stone circle Full Moon Activation 

Saturday, May 6

 12 – 1pm: On the Self Portraiture of Laura Aguilar: A Conversation with Karina Salcido

Drop by from 6 to 10pm: Ecstatic Land screening series & lighting of Nancy Holt’s Starfire in Ballroom Courtyard

Isuma Film Screening

16 Mar 2023

Isuma, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019), Directed by Zacharias Kunuk

As a part of the Ecstatic Land screening series, Ballroom Marfa presents Isuma’s One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019), 112 minutes, directed by Zacharias Kunuk. Join us for this special screening at Marfa Public Library on March 16th from 6–8 pm. This event is free.

Synopsis: In April 1961, John Kennedy is America’s new President, the Cold War heats up in Berlin and nuclear bombers are deployed from bases in arctic Canada. In Kapuivik, north Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team as his ancestors did when he was born in 1900. When the white man known as Boss arrives at Piugattuk’s hunting camp, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens up the prospect of momentous change. Boss is an agent of the government, assigned to get Piugattuk to move his band to settlement housing and send his children to school so they can get jobs and make money. But Kapuivik is Piugattuk’s homeland. He takes no part in the Canadian experience; and cannot imagine what his children would do with money.

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk opened at the Canadian Pavillion of the Biennale de Venezia 2019, as a 4K digital video installation, 112 minutes, Inuktitut-English 2019.

Opening Celebration for Fall Exhibitions

12 Nov 2022

Opening Celebration

Ecstatic Land  &

Kenneth Tam: Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory

November 12, 4-7 pm

Join us for the Opening Celebration of Ecstatic Land and Kenneth Tam: Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory on Saturday, November 12 from 4–7pm.

The special evening will include film screenings, Nancy Holt’s Starfire, and performances starting at 6pm by Christie Blizard and Laura Ortman. There will be music and drinks. Free and open to all!

Thank you to our sponsors, Marfa Wine Co.

Ecstatic Land Film Series

26 Oct 2022

Ecstatic Land Film Schedule

October 26, 2022 –May 2023

Ballroom Courtyard

Sundown until 10pm

Join us from sundown until 10pm for the Ecstatic Land film series in the Ballroom Courtyard and the Marfa Public Library. 


October 26– 29: 

Alan Michelson, Wolf Nation, 2018. 9:59 minutes. 


November 2– 5: 

Genesis Báez, Nubes (Clouds), 2019. 6:45 minutes.


November 9–12: 

Christie Blizard, Plant Songs, 2021-2022. 16 minutes. 

Sondra Perry, I Make Land Art Now, 2015. 2:41 minutes

Christie Blizard, Cactus, 20204:47 minutes. 


March 16, 2023 at Marfa Public Library: 

Isuma, One Day in the Life of Noah Pittuagatuk, 2019. Directed by Zacharias Kunuk. 113 minutes.