Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


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.

Vidas Perfectas on Vimeo

2 Jul 2014

If you’re unable to attend the West Texas and Mexico performances of Vidas Perfectas, or just want a sample of what’s coming up, check out all seven episodes of the work on Vimeo (recorded in front of a live audience during the Whitney Biennial).

El Parque (The Park):

Vidas Perfectas – El Parque (17 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Supermercado (The Supermarket):

Vidas Perfectas – El Supermercado (19 Apr 2014 @ 12pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Banco (The Bank):

Vidas Perfectas – El Banco (18 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Bar (The Bar):

Vidas Perfectas – El Bar (19 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Salon (The Living Room):

Vidas Perfectas – El Salon (18 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

La Iglesia (The Church):

Vidas Perfectas – La Iglesia (17 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Patio De Atras (The Backyard):

Vidas Perfectas – El Patio De Atras (19 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

And if you’re really in a Robert-Ashley frame of mind, treat yourself to watching the original Perfect Lives: An Opera for Television, four episodes of which are available on YouTube.

The Park (Privacy Rules):

The Supermarket (Famous People):

The Bank (Victimless Crime):

The Bar (Differences):

And if you still can’t get enough,

PLATFORM 14: Alix Pearlstein, “The Park”

29 May 2014


Image courtesy of the artist and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Ballroom’s 2013 pick for Artists’ Film International, Alix Pearlstein, recently unveiled her newest major work at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts as part of their PLATFORM series.

The work, entitled The Park, is:

a three-channel video conceived for and filmed at deCordova as a composite “portrait-in-flux” of the Sculpture Park. Projected in deCordova’s Dewey Family Gallery, The Park brings the outdoor experience inside to create an uncanny reflection of the visitor’s encounter with art and nature.

The video installation portrays a single area of the Sculpture Park from three distinct viewpoints. In each scene the camera moves forward at a careful but unrelenting pace, absorbing and rearranging the ‘cast’–the institution’s ground, actors, and sculpture. Installed in the round, the videos will emanate outward, giving the viewer in the center of the gallery the illusion of ever-expanding space.

Heavily influenced by Minimalism, dance, and cinematic history, Pearlstein’s videos explore performance within everyday spaces and environments. She choreographs actors and her camera in equal measure to create distilled moments of familiar strangeness; common actions are made anew through performed and repeated gestures. The Park presents the Sculpture Park as a site of contemplation, scrutiny, and mystery.

The Park will be on display until October 13,

Aaron Curry at Michael Werner, London

14 May 2014


From the artist’s studio, 2014. Image courtesy of Michael Werner Gallery.

Opening June 6th, Two Face and Comic Future artist Aaron Curry will unveil an exhibition of his new paintings at Michael Werner, London. Aptly titled Aaron Curry: Paintings, the show is the artist’s “first exhibition devoted to paintings, representing a new direction in his work.”

From Michael Werner Gallery:

Curry’s new, large-scale paintings on canvas… are a departure from the artist’s sculptural practice and represent an entirely new direction in his work. Strikingly illusionistic renderings of grotesque figures and heads, painted in savagely intense hues, call upon a rich array of visual associations high and low: Yves Tanguy and Robert Williams, Japanese ‘ghost heads’, Roberto Matta and the checked-out illustrations of Juxtapoz, Juan Gris and Garbage Pail Kids. Curry’s new paintings further complicate the visual and metaphoric potential of the artist’s pop-infused abstraction, blurring the line between contemporary psychedelia and classic surrealism.

Aaron Curry: Paintings will be on view from June 6- August 9,

Peter Saul Curates “If You’re Accidentally Not Included, Don’t Worry About It”

1 May 2014


Invitation image by Peter Saul, courtesy of Zürcher Studio, New York.

Comic Future artist, Peter Saul recently tried his hand at curating, resulting in If You’re Accidentally Not Included, Don’t Worry About It at Zürcher Studio in New York. As Saul explains in a statement on the gallery website, the exhibition primarily includes “friends” of the artist and that his selection process was entirely subjective, stating:

I’ve got definite criteria for good looking, long lasting, important art, but nobody I know agrees with it. For this show, if I had to choose between 2 images, I chose the one that was more pictorial, sensational, illusionistic, glamorous, humanistic, funny, sexual, quarrelsome, violent, ugly, etc. etc. In case none of these applied, I chose the one I thought was more unusual to look at. The only absolute was to choose small works, so that more and more could fit in.

The exhibition includes works by 21 artists, including: Gina Beavers, Brian Belott, Chuck Close, Steve DiBenedetto, Austin Lee, Judith Linhares, Taylor McKimens, Sally Saul, and Karl Wirsum. As well as pieces by past Ballroom artists Polly Apfelbaum, Erik Parker, and a work by Saul himself.

In a review of the show, Hyperallergic notes that:

As a curator, Saul may have a set of criteria nobody agrees with, but his rapid-fire choices based on the “pictorial, sensational, illusionistic, glamorous, humanistic, funny, sexual, quarrelsome, violent, ugly, etc. etc.” have presented us with a group of artists who display emotional truth in all its spattered, greasy, savage, hyperbolic glory.

Vogue on “The Evolution of Prada Marfa”

29 Apr 2014


Photo: Thessaly La Force

Vogue‘s Thessaly La Force and Katherine Bernard recently visited Prada Marfa (post-vandalism) with friend of Ballroom, Alec Friedman. La Force recounts her experience of the work and discusses its continued evolution.

An excerpt:

“The installation was initially meant as a sort of an experiment,” Elmgreen & Dragset explained recently (the two were in Hong Kong for the opening of a new show at Perrotin). “We really wanted to see what could happen if one would make a fusion of pop and Land art. It was also meant as a comment on branding and consumerist culture.” The sculpture was announced in the fall in The New York Times. “We loved the idea of the piece being born on October 1 and that it will never again be maintained,” Villareal told Eric Wilson of the Times. “If someone spray-paints graffiti or a cowboy decides to use it as target practice or maybe a mouse or a muskrat makes a home in it, 50 years from now it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made.”

But since then, Prada Marfa has become such a target for vandalism that the spirit of the sculpture has changed. Within days of its unveiling in 2005, a thief broke the windows and ran off with the loot. The bags were replaced with GPS trackers, and their bottoms were cut out to discourage further theft….

In a way, this all seemed manageable until earlier this March, when a serious act of vandalism wrecked the sculpture. Prada Marfa was haphazardly splashed in blue paint on either sides; its awning was slashed; and the vandal tacked on incomprehensible signs with a strong adhesive glue that ruined the storefront’s Plexiglas….

When we arrived at Prada Marfa, it was disappointing to behold the damage. The slashed awning and the smears of brown glue on the windows diminished the elegant spectacle it had once been—we walked past the blue-painted adobe walls and peered at the preserved handbags and the shoes. But it was still, in a way, strange beauty in the middle of the desert. And so we posed, like everyone before us, and hopefully everyone after. Later, I would find this quote from Miuccia Prada: “Nostalgia is a very complicated subject for me. I’m attracted by nostalgia but I refuse it intellectually.” But whatever it is—Prada Marfa has its own life now. “It has turned into something beyond our control,” Elmgreen & Dragset said. “And that is the best thing an artist can experience. As artists we are only here in order to trigger a debate, to provide platforms for other people’s interpretations.”

To continue reading, visit Vogue.

If you would like to learn more about Prada Marfa, please read Ballroom’s updated Explainer.

CaLL/WALKS for Jane’s Walk Present: “Ludogeography”

28 Apr 2014


Mary Miss, with Eve Mosher
“Insert_ Here” sign, Jane’s Walk 2013. Image courtesy of City As Living Laboratory.

On Saturday, May 3rd Marfa Dialogues/NY participant, Mary Miss and game designer Josh Debonis will offer an “exploration” of Madison Square Park and the surrounding neighborhood using methods influenced by the Situationist’s Dérive. Using the term, Ludogeography (which means “to let play influence movement through an urban space”), Mary Miss and DeBonis lead participants through

an experimental game of chance operations and playful directives that will draw… (one) through the environment, its history, landmarks, flora and fauna,

“GhostFood” Video from Marfa Dialogues/NY

24 Apr 2014


Photo courtesy of Miriam Simun

During Marfa Dialogues/NY, participant Gallery Aferro presented GhostFood, a participatory performance by Miriam Simun and Miriam Songster, which explored the effects of climate change on our food supply. The GhostFood mobile trailer parked outside Ballroom’s exhibition Quiet Earth at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, as well as in front of Gallery Aferro,and handed out devices that allowed visitors to “taste” various foods currently threatened with extinction, including: cod, peanuts, and cocoa.

If you missed the events in October, be sure to watch Miriam Simun’s recently released short film,

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.

Watch Vidas Perfectas Via Live Stream

17 Apr 2014


Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman, Performance of El Parque, Vidas Perfectas, Irondale Theater, Brooklyn, NY; December 2011, Pictured: Ned Sublette as ‘R’, aka Raoul de Noget, Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Phillip Stearns.

For anyone unable to make it to the performances of Vidas Perfectas at the Whitney Biennial, be sure to tune into the performance’s live stream beginning today.

Here is the schedule (all times EST):

each episode is 30 minutes, plus 15-minute changeovers between episodes

Thursday, April 17

1:30pm (El Parque, La Iglesia)

4:30pm (La Iglesia, El Parque

Friday, April 18

1:30pm (El Banco, El Salon)

6:30pm (El Banco, El Salon, El Bar)

Saturday, April 19

12pm (El Supermercado, El Banco)

4:30pm (El Bar, El Patio de Atras)

Sunday, April 20

12pm (El Supermercado, El Bar)

4:30pm (El Parque,