Newsroom

Thank You + Marfa Myths Polaroids by Alex Marks

20 Mar 2015

We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came out to Marfa Myths last weekend, and everyone who made it possible. The festival was beyond our wildest dreams, and we can’t believe it actually happened. We’ll be doing a proper wrap-up soon, and adding all the photos, from Alex Marks and Luis Nieto Dickens (our former intern [!] who traveled down to shoot for Oak NYC), but first we want to share these amazing Polaroids, taken by Alex Marks, part of our ongoing Polaroid portrait series. They kind of capture it all.

Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Grouper by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14,   2015.

Grouper by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas,   March 14, 2015.

Co La by Alex Marks, Marfa,  Texas, March 14, 2015.

GABI by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas,    March 14, 2015.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma by Alex Marks,  Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Weyes Blood by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14,  2015.

Weyes Blood by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Suicideyear by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas,   March 14, 2015.

Bitchin' Bajas by Alex Marks,   Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Steve Gunn by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14,   2015.

Steve Gunn by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas,   March 14, 2015.

Gregg Kowalsky by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14,  2015.

Thug Entrancer by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Tamaryn by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

Iceage by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas,  March 14, 2015.

Iceage by Alex Marks, Marfa, Texas, March 14, 2015.

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An Artist Statement from Sam Falls

25 Feb 2015

Video still from Untitled (Now), 2014

Video still from Untitled (Now), 2014

A solo exhibition of Falls’ work will open at Ballroom Marfa on March 13, 2015.

This show comes from a few different ideas and places, one of which is the influence of Donald Judd and Marfa. It was my second trip to Marfa that struck me most, the unchanging nature of the place and sculptures, and while my own work has always been informed by minimal aesthetics and continues to be, the element I knew I wanted to incorporate, especially with my sculpture was change. This change has entered my work through incorporating the environment, so that the art reflects time and place, rather than denying or defying it. The reciprocal object exposed to time and environment beyond the artwork is the viewer. The piece which most readily responds to all these issues is the outdoor sculpture made from a 1984 Ford Ranger. When I moved from New York to California in 2011 I bought a new Ford Ranger, so in conceiving this sculpture I first wanted to find the same model truck from the year I was born. The truck had at some point been repainted red from its original tan color, and as humans regenerate their skin cells every seven years, I reversed the process on the truck and had it sandblasted in a random patter down to tan lines and then all the way to steel. Some of the panels of the truck were clear-coated to preserve the visible “skins” of the truck, while others are left to rust in the elements, exposed. The “life” of the truck was removed and repurposed with a new life, substituting the engine block with a marble block and potted cactuses, and the truck bed became a soil bed of succulents native to southern North America. As the copper pots of the cacti oxidize they’ll leave their mark on the white marble, and the succulents inside the truck and in the bed will take on the heart and purpose of the machine, growing with the environment and viewers.

The works on linen in the show were hand dyed on-site in Marfa and left outside to fade in the sunlight, creating images that were masked out by minimal shapes in pictographic images from the ancient Chinese tangram game. The idea came to fruition when reading Judd’s 1994 essay Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular, namely near the end when he states:

“Color of course can be an image or a symbol, as is the peaceful blue and white, often combined with olive drab, but these are no longer present in the best art. By definition, images and symbols are made by institutions. A pair of colors that I knew of as a child in Nebraska was red and black, which a book said was the “favorite” of the Lakota. In the codices of the Maya, red and black signify wisdom and are the colors of scholars.”

I had already begun working with the tangram puzzles but not found the perfect situation for their form. I wanted to use the images on the fabric and then create tables with the game pieces in their resting assembled rectangular form. I was always interested in the divide between Judd’s furniture and artwork, how the designs were quite similar but separated by space and function. In this work the tables function first as productive tools for the artwork, and then secondarily as furniture. I also wanted to mix the media, using some industrial materials that would weather (copper and bronze), along with more static and classical material (marble). The quote above led me to take interest in the history of tangrams and source Chinese marble for the project, while also using the colors red and black in a site specific homage to Judd. The other works on linen are also durational and natural “photograms” which came about in Marfa after seeing the cattle fences everywhere, the grid appearing even out in the middle of the country. I wanted to work with something so familiar to rural Texas as well as the aesthetics of art history, an American theme ever-present in everyday life, its representation, and its abstraction.

Sam Falls at Fondazione Giuliani Gallery

20 Feb 2015

Falls_neons-dark2_work-in-progress1-440x440
Sam Falls
Untitled, 2014; works in progress, artist’s studio, Los Angeles

A solo exhibition of recent work by Sam Falls opened last week at Fonazione Giuliani gallery in Rome, Italy. The show, on view until April 18th, combines natural elements, such as the moon and the tides, with time-based art practices, highlighting our relationship to what Falls describes as the “gravitational pull of life.”

He presents a series of ‘Moon artworks’ created by dripping wax onto images of the moon in different phases to create prints illustrating its cycle and the residue of the candles he used in the full time they took to burn. He also exhibits new ‘Helium pieces,’ which display helium in two different physical states; one as seen through electric light and another in balloon form. In his statement he describes the helium works and their relationship to the larger conceptual threads throughout the show:

“Most excitingly, the electricity lets us see the color of helium and the balloon gives it form, it is truly representational and quite abstract – I don’t know which one tips the scale and this back and forth gives the work its gravity. The forms of the glass are line tracings of the sides of my family and friends, myself, my dogs. The works show the microcosm of aging; buoyed up in the beginning, full of energy and life, dropping down to a perfect state with time, then eventually resting on the ground, deflated. What has been continues to burn and the balloons serve as a memory of what was.”

Read more at Fondazione Giuliani. A solo exhibition by Falls will open here at Ballroom Marfa on March 13, 2015.

Sam Falls: Light Over Time

16 Feb 2015

Sam Falls: Light Over Time from Public Art Fund on Vimeo.

Artist Sam Falls is known for experimenting with the effects of rainwater and sunlight on different materials throughout his process. He’s left canvases out in the rain, layered UV-protected pigments on metallic surfaces, and placed hand-dyed fabrics in naturally sunlit environments, such as an isolated hillside in Joshua Tree, California, for several months. A solo exhibition of Falls work will open at Ballroom Marfa on March 13, 2015.

In Light Over Time, presented by the Public Art Fund, a series of Falls’ public art sculptures exhibited in Downtown Brooklyn’s Metro Tech courtyard are completed by natural elements; they fade or change color with sunlight, and can be altered by the weather or interactions with passersby.

In Untitled (Thermochromic bench), a blue and purple bench made of glass responds to body heat, leaving colored imprints where visitors sit or children climb. Another sculpture, Untitled (Wind chimes), rings from strong gusts of wind or when its chimes are pushed back and forth. In Untitled (Scales), seesaw-like sculptures change position as the geometric forms on either end collect varying amounts of rainwater.

Two other works, Untitled (Light rooms) and Untitled (Maze), require viewers to walk inside or through them for the full experience, as their colors shift in relation to natural light. In Untitled (Maze), in particular, coated aluminum panels have been selectively painted with protective UV paint so that parts of the sculpture will fade from sun exposure, revealing new layers of color beneath.

The Maze and title of the exhibition also reference a previous work by Sam Falls: a Light Over Time screen-printed accordion book from 2012. Encased in a light-sensitive, aluminum sculpture which looks like a miniature version of the forms in Untitled (Maze), the book was intended to be placed on a windowsill or sunlit table. As Falls writes, “Together the book and the sculpture show light over time, one by hand and one by the sun”––a concept further realized in the interactive and duration-based features of this year’s large-scale Light Over Time installation.

Sam Falls: Light Over Time will be on view in the Metro Tech courtyard through May 29, 2015. The artist’s self-titled solo exhibition opens here at Ballroom Marfa on March 13, and will be on view through August 16, 2015. Visit our event page for more information.

Sam Falls and Los Angeles: City of Art

18 Dec 2014

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LIGHT MOVES | Artist Sam Falls with his dog, Penelope, in the north end of his Glendale, Calif., studio. Photography by Jesse Chehak for WSJ. Magazine.

Artist Sam Falls contributes to a conversation with the Wall Street Journal about L.A.’s steadily growing art scene and the Southland’s laid-back vibes. A solo exhibition from Falls will open at Ballroom Marfa this coming March.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“The pace here is more organic,” says Sam Falls as he walks through his current exhibition at the gallery. His pieces—large negative silhouettes created in part by leaving foliage (ferns, palm fronds) on raw canvas out in the rain—are big, ambitious and all about process. He works on some of the larger-scale projects from several spaces, including a converted knitting factory in Glendale and a parking lot near Pomona. “You can get to the next level of your work in a more fluid way here,” says Falls. “Art needs to be incubative…[People] move to New York to become artists with a capital A. Not here,” says Sam Falls. Sure, there is an art market, and there are openings and power players, but there is a welcoming, communal vibe to it all. “I see making my art as almost a blue-collar job.

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,

Whitechapel Gallery Artists’ Film International Highlights Nicole Miller

5 Nov 2014

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Jorge Macchi’s (Argentina) film 12 short Songs (2009), Courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery

This video presented by London’s Whitechapel Gallery highlights the 2014 season of works for Artists’ Film International, a collection of artists’ film, video and animation from around the world. Among the artists highlighted is Nicole Miller, who will be featured in Ballroom’s sixth installment of Artist’s Film International. Artist’s Film International is on view November 22-January 11, 2015 at Ballroom Marfa, with an opening reception on November 22 from 6-8pm. Click here for all the details.

The video also includes work from artists Jorge Macchi (Argentina), Angela Su (China), Oded Hirsch (Israel) and Provmyza Group (Russia).

A description of Nicole Miller’s piece from Whitechapel:

Untitled (David) (2012) by Nicole Miller observes a man the artist encountered by chance on the street.
He recounts the events leading to the amputation of his left arm whilst his right limb is reflected in a mirror,

Nicole Miller’s “Believing is Seeing” for LACMA9 Art + Film Lab

30 Oct 2014

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Image: Artist Nicole Miller with filmmaker Billy Woodberry, courtesy of LACMA

In anticipation of Nicole Miller’s work being featured in Ballroom’s sixth installment of Artist’s Film International, here is a review of her previous solo show at LACMA:

Entitled “Believing is Seeing”, LACMA commissioned Miller to nine interviews of select Redland residents for the Lab’s oral history hour tours in order to identify subjects for new artworks. This year and a half long collaborative project showed Miller’s interest in mining “stories that residents feel deserve to be told” about their lives and communities, “[and belief that] the stories individuals choose to present are a great signifier of the values of a community.” Her works explore “subjectivity and self-representation as tools wielded for the possible reconstitution of lost histories, dead fantasies, or even broken physical bodies.”

From KCET:

The journey that Miller describes could be summed up as an exploration of self-representation. Miller is not a documentarian, and LACMA’s charge was not to create a series of photojournalistic biographies representing the sites that compose the LACMA9 initiative. Rather, Miller regularly uses documentary practice to “give people space to self-represent.” Some of the circumstances depicted in past work include a man recalling the amputation of his arm, young people dancing explicitly at a club, a conductor performing, and a yogi engaged in transcendental meditation.

Artist’s Film International is on view November 22-January 11, 2015 at Ballroom Marfa,

AFI – Nicole Miller Opens November 22, 2014!

27 Oct 2014

Nicole Miller “Untitled” (David), 2012 Still from one channel of 3 channel HD Raw video installation 7:09 min looped

Artists’ Film International: Nicole Miller
Curated by Erin Kimmel

November 22, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Opening: November 22, 6-8pm

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Organized in conjunction with Whitechapel Gallery, London, Ballroom Marfa is pleased to present the sixth season of Artists’ Film International, a program that showcases international artists working in film and animation. This year in the north and south galleries Ballroom Marfa will feature two video works, David (2012) and Death of a School (2014), by Los Angeles-based artist Nicole Miller.

Miller’s videos explore self-representation and self-presentation in narrative form as a tool for the reconstitution of both physical and psychic manifestations of loss. In David, a man re-tells the story of loosing his arm in a brutal act of random violence while concurrently re-generating his phantom limb through exercises performed in front of a mirror. Interspersed throughout the two galleries, the four-channel work Death of a School is a predominantly silent and languid meditation on a soon to be shut-down school in Miller’s hometown of Tuscon, Arizona where the artist’s mother taught for the majority of her life. Presented together, the videos embrace malleable identity as a function of the story we construct about ourselves as subject or artist—one in which representation not only mediates knowledge through fragmentation and negation but constructs it as well.

Additionally, each of the 12 participating institutions has selected one artist from their region whose works will be screened as part of the international AFI program. Ballroom Marfa’s center gallery has been transformed into an interactive screening room for the viewing of the entire selection of works for the duration of the exhibition.

Nicole Miller (b. 1982; Tucson, Arizona) lives and works in Los Angeles. Solo shows include Believing is Seeing (LACMA), Death of a School (Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneve); The Conductor (LAXART) and Daggering (HMAAC).

Sound Speed Marker Closes This Sunday

24 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

Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s exhibition, Sound Speed Marker will be closing this Sunday, October 26. Come out and see it if you haven’t already!

Here’s a brief overview of other’s thoughts about the exhibition:

From Art in America:

Hubbard and Birchler’s rigorous anatomy of a monument in eclipse is exceptionally soulful and also sublime. You look at and through it, toward the immense landscape and sky. Interspersed shots of desert plants, rain and wind, and ants swarming a grasshopper carcass underscore that the threadbare movie set is now part of, and dominated by, nature. Made from and about Texas, and shown in Texas, the exhibition was altogether superb.

From Artforum:

“Sound Speed Marker” continues the inquiry that Giant refines in two earlier documentary explorations that likewise explore the ways film’s past-tense fictions permeate real geographies in the present…Well cited at Ballroom, Marfa, just down the road from Donald Judd’s utopia, all three films encourage the viewer to consider the specificity of any locality, even when just passing through.

From Glasstire:

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.

From an interview in Bomb:

IA All three works in Sound Speed MarkerMovie Mountain, Grand Paris Texas, and Giant—reference Hollywood movies that use Texas as a backdrop, either physically or as a concept. For me, there’s a sense that the Hollywood movies are somehow mining the state’s status as an untamed landscape independent of the rule of law. Watching Giant in particular I came to think of these Hollywood studios as some version of oil prospectors, trying to extract from the setting whatever they could. What’s the relationship between Hollywood and Texas for you?

AB…The works in Sound Speed Marker certainly explore some paradigms of the western. 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.