Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


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

26 Oct 2022


Kenneth Tam



Kenneth Tam’s solo exhibition Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory features a series of commissioned sculptures alongside a two-channel video installation. In his exhibition, Tam unearths forgotten histories in order to reimagine our own identities and to question dominant myths that shape and govern our bodies. One of the most enduring myths that still haunts our nation is Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the American West. These ideologies have circulated and remain embedded in popular culture through Westerns and advertising, such as the figure of the Marlboro Man. These images reified claims to Indigenous land as well as distorted Indigenous histories, while also enforcing stereotypes of Anglo-American masculinity that remain pervasive. 

Tam’s examination of American westward expansion is rooted in the unrecorded lives of nameless Chinese laborers, who toiled under the most physically arduous conditions in the late nineteenth century. Silent Spikes, the video installation on view at Ballroom, weaves together improvised dialogue and movement sequences from a group of participants, along with semi-fictional scenes of a Chinese worker from inside the tunnels of the Transcontinental Railroad. During Tam’s site visit to West Texas in 2021, his encounter with artifacts and fragments of objects left at workers’ camps along the railroad led him to consider how physical remnants function as stand-ins for the disappeared histories of laborers. Tam’s sculptures suggest other ways of thinking about these men. His use of archaeological fragments as visual and material language complicates the simple narratives that have been constructed about migrant lives. In their lifetimes, Chinese laborers were reviled for their race but praised for their industriousness, their worth as people always tied to their ability to labor. Bits of dried food, broken jewelry and other personal items are integrated into the sculptures to point to experiences of precarity, but also tenderness and care. Physical traces–and even the sounds of the railroad passing through Marfa still today–can serve as reminders of how this nation was built, and by whom. 

Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory is organized by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa Executive Director and Curator with assistance from Alexann Susholtz, Exhibitions and Curatorial Assistant.

Ecstatic Land


Laura Aguilar, Genesis Báez, Teresa Baker, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Christie Blizard, The Frank Duncan Archive, Nancy Holt, Katherine Hubbard, Isuma, Benny Merris, Alan Michelson, Laura Ortman, Elle Pérez, Sondra Perry, David Benjamin Sherry

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. The word ecstatic comes from the Greek ἔκστασις [ekstasis], meaning “to stand outside oneself.” In nature, and particularly in the vast expanses of the desert, one can experience physical contact with the earth while being emotionally and psychologically transported elsewhere. This affect, present in the artworks in Ecstatic Land, connects material and exterior sites with interior, emotional, psychic states. Land is celebrated as a living force, and the exhibiting artists’ photographs, paintings, films, videos, sculptures, and sounds harmonize the pleasures of seeing what’s around us with those of inward reflection. 

Western art-historical traditions of the landscape genre largely focus on the framing of particular views of nature, often as demonstrations of power and control. And while the artists in Ecstatic Land each reference the natural world, they are not creating landscapes per se. Rather than reproducing or framing views, their works reveal new subjectivities and methods for perceiving shared environments. These artworks transport us beyond sight, reconnecting us to the world through embodied experiences. Challenging and expanding single-point perspectives, these artists offer personal views that would otherwise be invisible, intangible or overlooked. Their approaches run counter to the privatization, misuse, and over-consumption of common spaces and resources. Ecstatic Land proposes ways to live dynamically, critically, queerly, and consciously on and with the land.

Ecstatic Land is co-organized by Guest Curator Dean Daderko and Ballroom Marfa Director and Curator Daisy Nam, with assistance from Alexann Susholtz, Ballroom Marfa Curatorial and Exhibitions Assistant.

Land Art walk through with grad students

9 Oct 2022

On Sunday, October 9, 2022 from X to X, Ballroom Marfa invites the public to join us and the Land Arts program for coffee and conversation with Dr. C.J. Alvarez. In this special expanded classroom session at Ballroom Marfa, Dr. Alvarez will guide students and public participants in thoughtful discourse in response to The Blessings of the Mystery by Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas. Participants will have the opportunity to walk through the exhibition with Dr. Alvarez, Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa Executive Director and Curator, and Chris Taylor, Land Arts Director. Following the walkthrough, a conversation will take place with Dr. Alvarez, Chris Taylor, and the Land Arts students who will expand upon the environmental and art historical themes of the exhibition. This program will be the final day of The Blessings of the Mystery at Ballroom Marfa; we hope you’ll join us. 


Dr. C.J. Alvarez is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies. Dr. Alvarez is an environmental historian who writes about deserts, the built environment, and the U.S.-Mexico border. 


Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University is a transdisciplinary field program dedicated to expanding awareness of the intersection of human construction and the evolving nature of our planet. The program leverages immersive field experience in the desert southwest as a primary pedagogic agent to support research that opens horizons of perception, probes depths of inquiry and advances understanding of human actions shaping environments. Land Arts attracts architects, artists, and writers from across the university and beyond to a “semester abroad in our own backyard” that travels 6,000 miles overland while camping for two months to experience major land art monuments—Double Negative, Spiral Jetty, Sun Tunnels, The Lightning Field—while also visiting sites to expand understanding of what land art might be, such as pre-contact archeology, military-industrial infrastructure, and sites of contemporary wilderness and waste. Throughout the travels, and on-campus, participants make work in response to their experience, which is exhibited at the Museum of Texas Tech University to conclude the field season.


Chris Taylor is the director of Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University and an Associate Professor of Architecture. He studied architecture at the University of Florida and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard and has been with the College of Architecture since 2008.

Members Event: The Blessings of the Mystery

8 Oct 2022

Walkthrough & limited edition unveiling

Saturday, October 8, 2022
6-7 PM

Ballroom Marfa hosts a cocktail reception for Ballroom members.  Join us as we celebrate the exhibition The Blessings of the Mystery and unveil the limited-edition silkscreen print Somi S’ek, The Land of the Sun, La Tierra del Sol. Created by the artists Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas in collaboration with Ballroom and printed by Du-Good Press, the proceeds of the edition supports our exhibitions and programs.

The limited edition print is a multilayered silkscreen that embodies Somi Se’k. It is not only what the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe refers to as the lands on both sides of the River of Spirits (Rio Grande), it is also a universe where the region’s present, past, and future are still in conversation.

There will be cocktails and a private tour of The Blessings of the Mystery, led by Ballroom Marfa’s Executive Director and Curator Daisy Nam.

The event will take place during Chinati Weekend, immediately before the Community Dinner at the Chinati Arena. 

Not a member? Join or renew here.


Closing Celebrations of The Blessings of the Mystery

7 Oct 2022

Closing Celebrations of
The Blessings of the Mystery

Coinciding with Chinati Weekend

You’re invited October 7-9, 2022 as we celebrate the closing of The Blessings of the Mystery by Carolina Caycedo and David De Rozas during the 35th Annual Chinati Weekend. The exhibition emerges from Caycedo and de Rozas’s multidisciplinary practices, which are centered around environmental justice, encounters between history and memory, and Indigenous rights and cosmologies.

Ballroom Marfa will be open for extended gallery hours and special programming including a Community Block Party with Marfa Public Radio & Marfa Studio of Arts.

We hope you’ll join us!

Weekend Schedule

Oct 7, 6 – 9pm: Made in Marfa – Community Block Party 
Oct 8, 6 – 7pm: Members Event 
Oct 9, 11am – 3pm: Special Gallery Hours 
Oct 9, 1 – 3pm: Program with Land Arts of the American West
Oct 9, 8:02pm: stone circle Full Moon Activation 

MXTX — A Cross-Border Exchange

4 Sep 2022

Music Commission

Ballroom Marfa invites you to join us for a free premiere of MXTX: A Cross-Border Exchange on Sunday, September 4 at the Marfa Visitor Center. 

MXTX is a live performance, album and open-source audio sample library crossing physical and social boundaries through collaborative exchange. The project involves more than 40 DJ-producers and composers from both sides of the Rio Grande. A collective of the contributing musicians will travel to Marfa to take the stage for the West Texas Premiere of the project as part of the 35th annual Marfa Lights Festival.

The multifaceted and dynamic project is a collaboration of numerous Texas and Mexico-based artists including:

  • Golden Hornet, an Austin-based non-profit led by Graham Reynolds
  • Orión García, founder of the Latinx DJ/producer/artist collective, Peligrosa
  • Coka Treviño, art entrepreneur from Monterrey, Mexico and founder of The Projecto
  • Felipe Pérez Santiago, highly-acclaimed Mexico City composer, sound artist and current artist in residence at California’s SETI Institute
  • Ramón Amezcua “Bostich” of the groundbreaking Nortec Collective, based in Tijuana
  • Rubén Albarrán, renowned vocalist and activist from Mexico City, lead singer of the legendary Cafe Tacvba
  • Gabriela Ortiz, Latin Grammy nominated composer and recipient of Mexico’s National Prize for Arts & Literature

MXTX began with the creation of a sample library commissioned from twenty composers and twenty DJ-producers based in Mexico and Texas. These forty artists created a palette of sound designed to represent each of their perspectives. The DJ-producers provided beats, drops, and more, while the composers created melodic, rhythmic, and chordal fragments to be recorded as segments and loops. All of these sounds formed the initial foundation of the MXTX library. A core group of six composers and six DJ-producers, commissioned with balanced geographical representation, used this library to create twelve songs. Created for a mixed chamber ensemble and a DJ, the twelve works will be presented live, with premieres in Marfa, Mexico City, and Austin.

The MXTX: A Cross-Border Exchange album was released through Six Degrees Records in 2022 and consists of thirteen songs that demonstrate the immense beauty and power of music to overcome divides. Presented as part of the Marfa Lights Festival, the show at the Marfa Visitor Center will be the second live performance of MXTX. Attendance is free and open to the public. 

Summer Party 2022

6 Aug 2022

Saturday, August 6, 2022
7-11 PM
Bridgehampton, NY

Party in the Trees, Under the Stars. Join us surrounded by friends, food, art, music, and surprises among the trees and rolling hills. Come faraway with us.

Rain or Shine.  Magical festive attire.  Shoes for the meadow.

DJ set by Helado Negro.  Food by Yann Nury.  Tequila touch by Casa Dragones.

With Gratitude to


Virginia Lebermann & Fairfax Dorn

Host Committee

Jeff Beauchamp
Suzanne Deal Booth
Alexandre & Lori Chemla
Meredith Darrow
Tara Donovan & Robbie Crawford
Michael Forman & Jennifer Rice
Marc Glimcher
Christopher C. Hill
Sheree Hovsepian & Rashid Johnson
Richard & Dana Kirshenbaum
Jenny Laird
Mendes Wood DM
Bertha Gonzalez Nieves
Louise O’Connor
Catherine Orentreich

Pace Gallery
Christopher Rothko & Lori Cohen
Nancy Sanders
Allison Sarofim & Patrick Seabase
Anne-Cecilie Engell Speyer & Rob Speyer
Charles & Catarina Stewart
Ann Tenenbaum & Thomas Lee
Gordon VeneKlasen
Leo Villareal & Yvonne Force Villareal
Arden Wohl & Jonah Freeman
Bronson van Wyck
Nancy & George Walker
Candace Worth
Evan & Ku-Ling Yurman

Event address will be shared upon attendance confirmation.

Ballroom x Damian for Frieze LA 2023

A selection of works and limited editions by Ballroom artists were on view at Damian in DTLA from February 16–March 12, coinciding with Frieze LA. The exhibition featured works by Carmen Argote, Teresa Baker, Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas, Beatriz Cortez, rafa esparza & Timo Fahler, EJ Hill, James Evans, Star Montana, Solange Pessoa, Kenneth Tam, and Leo Villareal


Many of the artworks touch upon identity and diaspora concepts and showcase the breadth of artistic practices that Ballroom supports––several artists were selected for their connection to Los Angeles, where they live and work. 


The opening of the exhibition was celebrated at Damian in DTLA on February 16, 2023 and featured a special performance by San Cha and drinks by Casa Dragones. Works are on sale to benefit Ballroom’s programs that are free and open to the public.

DJ Camp 2022 with Chulita Vinyl Club ATX

20 Jun 2022

Summer Shake Up

DJ Camp with the Chulita Vinyl Club

🪩 🪩 🪩 🪩

Ballroom joined forces with Summer Shake Up for DJ Camp 2022, offered by Marfa ISD in collaboration with several community partner organizations. The 2022 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 workshop was designed to engage the imagination of youth from all musical backgrounds. Throughout the week, students  learned and practiced 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, basic music theory, and an introduction to zine-making. Students were encouraged to use found music and images to create their own narratives, celebrating personal history and cultural exploration. 

The Blessings of the Mystery — Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas

26 May 2022


Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas

For the exhibition, The Blessings of the Mystery, artists Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas create a new film and series of installations rooted in West Texas. The project crystallizes the artists’ research into the connections and tensions between the cultural, scientific, industrial, and socio-political forces across locations like the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, the Amistad Dam on the Rio Grande, and the Permian Basin oil fields. 

The presentation centers around The Teachings of the Hands, a single-channel film that depicts the region’s complex histories of colonization, migration, and ecological precarity from the perspective of Juan Mancias, Chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. The video-installation combines observational and experimental documentary with oral histories, reenactments, and archival footage. The film’s narrative grows out of the land where both Indigenous and settler knowledge have been historically produced. Weaving together scenes from the present day to 4,000 years in the past, The Teachings of the Hands highlights the environmental memories and cosmologies of these interconnected places across Texas.

The artists’ pull from different materials and sources to expand on the concepts in the film––they create immersive installations of surveying flags and tools, rendered several series of drawings and collages, and included a collection of original watercolors from the 1930s by artists and amateur archaeologists Forrest and Lula Kirkland that depict the ancient rock art of the Lower Pecos. On loan from the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas, these rarely seen plein air paintings document the original forms and vibrant colors of murals that were still visible in the 30s, before flooding, erosion, and human interaction damaged or destroyed them.

The Blessings of the Mystery emerges from Caycedo and de Rozas’s multidisciplinary practices, which are centered around environmental justice, encounters between history and memory, and Indigenous rights and cosmologies. For this exhibition and its iterations across Texas, Caycedo and de Rozas investigate the transformation of Somi Se’k* by way of industry, infrastructure, and private property.

*Somi Se’k means the Land of the Sun and is the way the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe refers to the land known as Texas.

The Blessings of the Mystery is organized by Laura Copelin, former Director & Curator.

The exhibition traveled to the Visual Arts Center (VAC) at The University of Texas at Austin in September 2021 and to the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas at El Paso in January 2022. The VAC presentation was organized by MacKenzie Stevens, Director, and the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts presentation was organized by Kerry Doyle, Director.