Newsroom

Li(sa) E. Harris Receives South Arts Jazz Grant

21 Oct 2021

Li(sa) E. Harris’s star continues to rise with a generous grant from South Arts.

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, awarded $2 million in grants in October 2021 to support jazz musicians through its Jazz Road initiative. The initiative exists to remove the financial barriers that keep mid-career professional jazz artists from investing deeply in their creative practice, and to encourage experimentation across a wide range of artistic and engagement possibilities in communities throughout the US.

Li was awarded the maximum amount of grant funding, with awards ranging from $24,700 to $40,000, for a residency of her own design focused on the society culture of segregated Dallas, Texas. With partner Ballroom Marfa, this residency will allow for the creation of a sonic and visual expression of the Dream Album with the ensemble.

An Orange, Grown in Marfa: New Music from Roberto Carlos Lange

9 Sep 2021

Far In, Roberto Carlos Lange’s sixth album under the moniker Helado Negro, is scheduled for release on October 22, 202. Produced by 4AD, Lange’s album explores introspective themes of family, isolation, and career—a significant divergence from the artist’s past focuses on Latinx identity. In an interview with Pitchfork, Lange noted that the environmental and nature-centered sounds of Far In were inspired by his six-month stay in Marfa in 2020, when he and visual artist Kristi Sword undertook an extended residency as a part of Ballroom Sessions—The Farther Place. Check out the music video for the new single, “La Naranja,” out now!

Kite Symphony, an exhibition featuring the residency’s multimedia collaboration between Lange and Sword, opens January 21, 2022 at Ballroom.

EJ Hill Takes on Prospect New Orleans, Releases New Album

7 Sep 2021

EJ Hill will be featured in the upcoming Prospect New Orleans exhibition, Yesterday we said tomorrow, opening on October 23, 2021. Yesterday, we said tomorrow includes artists from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe, addressing transnational and local themes of political and social action.

Hill’s EP, I want it too, created with collaborator Jeffrey Micheal Austin under the moniker Daisy Days, is out now. Hill and Austin were artists in residence in Winter 2020 as part of Ballroom Sessions–The Farther Place. During their residency, they co-wrote and recorded an album while exploring the landscape of West Texas. Listen on Spotify here!

Ballroom Receives Support from Warhol Foundation

15 Jul 2021

Ballroom Marfa is grateful to have received vital support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as a Spring 2021 grantee. This impactful award will aid in producing two years of projects, including Ballroom’s current show ESPEJO QUEMADA from Donna Huanca, as well as upcoming exhibitions and programs like Kite Symphony from Roberto Carlos Lange (AKA Helado Negro) and Kristi Sword, Blessings of the Mystery featuring new work from Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, and much more. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts honored fifty museums and organizations from across the United States and Canada for their work – read more about our fellow recipients here.

Italy Bound, Li(sa E.) Releases Life and That

9 Jul 2021

Li(sa E.) Harris released her new solo album, Life and That, on July 7. Raised in Houston’s Third Ward, Harris grew up adjacent to the city’s prominent gospel music scene, dreaming of becoming a professional opera singer. These influences and her strong background in both funk and soul collide in Life and That. Like her past album, Cry of the Third Eye, in which Harris explored the gentrification of the Third Ward, Life and That continues to meditate on political and social issues such as racism and student loans. Read more on the album in an interview with Bandcamp here.

Harris was also recently awarded the University of Houston’s inaugural Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. On the fellowship, she notes: “I am elated to return to Italy, albeit my first trip to Rome,” as “it brings me joy to put on for my city around the world.” Harris will return to Ballroom in Fall 2021 to continue her research as a Ballroom Sessions artist-in-residence.

DJ Camp 2021 Releases New Mix

1 Jul 2021

DJ Camp 2021. Photo by Sarah Vasquez.

The eleventh annual DJ Camp returned in person this summer, and the newest generation of DJs launched an amazing mix! This year, Ballroom joined forces with Chulita Vinyl Club ATX to produce the first vinyl-only camp for Marfa students in grades five through eight. Throughout the week, students practiced beat-matching, mixing, and scratching using turntables and vinyl records, and learned about the rich history of DJing through lessons on DJ culture, music collectives, basic music theory, and an introduction to zine-making. 

Check out the mix featuring DJ Panda, DJ Venus, DJ Boss Beach, DJ Vin, Lil’ Tay, Da Human 99, DJ Senpai, Lily Lil’ 103, DJ Neon Leon, and DJ Logan on our Soundcloud

Ballroom Marfa DJ Camp 2021 Tracklist⁣

  1. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees⁣
  2. So Sincere – Pat Benatar⁣
  3. This Road that I Walk – Conway Twitty⁣
  4. When Will I Be Loved – Linda Ronstadt⁣
  5. Nowhere Bound – Diamond Rio⁣
  6. Don’t Make Me Over – Jennifer Warnes⁣
  7. Sugar Baby Love – The Rubettes⁣
  8. Whispers – Bobby Borchers⁣
  9. Maryanne – Bay City Rollers⁣
  10. Tellstar – The Ventures⁣

Ballroom Reopens with ESPEJO QUEMADA

26 Jun 2021

Installation view, Donna Huanca: Espejo Quemada, June 26, 2021–January 2, 2022, Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy the artist and Ballroom Marfa. Photograph by Makenzie Goodman.

Ballroom’s galleries finally opened to the public again this weekend with ESPEJO QUEMADA, a series of new works by Donna Huanca commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. Huanca creates experiential installations that incorporate painting, sculpture, video, scent, and sound. Drawing inspiration from memories and experiences from her first visit to Marfa in 2005, Huanca engages with the geology and dark skies of Far West Texas while pulling from visual, cultural, and mythological cues informed by feminism, decolonialism, and the artist’s personal and familial histories. 

ESPEJO QUEMADA, which translates to “burnt mirror” in English and is purposely feminized in Spanish, alludes to Huanca’s use of mirrors as formal and metaphorical devices to respond to changing conditions. “Espejo Quemada” suggests reflections of the current moment, portals to the past and future, and catalysts for combustion and change. As Huanca’s first exhibition since the pandemic, ESPEJO QUEMADA necessarily reconsiders experiences of time, touch, and embodiment in the shadow of the pandemic, especially as physical contact and proximity to bodies and objects have been restricted. The exhibition is on view by appointment through January 2, 2022. Read more about the exhibition here and schedule your visit here.

Birdscapes Radio + Chihuahuan Desert | Birdscapes

1 May 2021

Rob Frye. Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes, 2020. Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. Photo by James Evans.

On International Dawn Chorus Day, Ballroom Marfa presented Birdscapes Radio, a freeform program organized by musician and birder Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas, Exoplanet, Flux Bikes). This program centers on Frye’s ever-evolving collaborative, sonic exploration into the world of birds. Listeners heardcan expect to hear down-tempo chorus, historical recordings, rare sounds, and seabird colonies hosted by Rob Frye with guests Edbrass Brasil, Cristian Pinto, Martin Frye, Satya Gummuluri and more. The show also includes excerpts from “Experience the Birds,” the first episode of Maui Nui Seabirds: Mauka to Makai, and Rob’s performative lecture “Hearing Hidden Melodies.” A recording of Birdscapes Radio can be accessed through Ballroom Marfa’s website and on YouTube

In addition, Ballroom Marfa and Astral Spirits collaborated on the release of Chihuahuan Desert | Birdscapes on cassette. The cassette features Frye’s original Birdscapes from 2018 in addition to Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes, commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in 2020. Chihuahuan Desert | Birdscapes is available through Astral Spirits on Bandcamp and Ballroom Marfa’s shop.

Take an Avant-Jazz Trip with Rob Frye

25 Apr 2021

Rob Frye’s first full-length solo album, Exoplanet, was released on April 23, 2021. Featuring his characteristic penchant for classical Jazz and electronic sound design, Exoplanet experiments further by presenting tracks with unusual excerpts from field recordings such as lectures, bird songs, and even sounds collected by NASA. Exoplanet follows the release of Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes, the product of Frye’s 2020 residency at Ballroom Marfa, which featured the avian populations of West Texas and music from his trademark handmade instruments. Similarly evocative, Fryre embraces paradox in Exoplanet, balancing markers of the unconventional and the avant-garde with his traditional use of Jazz. Read the review in Pitchfork and explore the album here!

News

17 Mar 2021

In March 2020, Ballroom Marfa appointed Laura Creed as its Executive Director. In light of the global pandemic and shifting priorities, Laura has decided to remain based in Los Angeles with her young family. Laura looks forward to following Ballroom Marfa’s exciting and ambitious programming in the years to come and we are wishing her and her family the best in their future in LA!