Marfa Dialogues

BLOG

Sheer Mag Jam (Because It’s Friday)

From the desk of the music director: Can’t get enough of Sheer Mag’s “Fan the Flames” — this video is carrying us through Friday. More info about the band here, and thanks to Dan Chamberlin (and Pitchfork) for the heads up. All hail Philly teen punks!

Steve Earle and the Dukes in Marfa!

Steve Earle and John Prine singing Townes Van Zandt’s “Loretta” at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee on October 26, 2013. As the video says: Bless you, John and Steve.

Ballroom Marfa is proud to present Steve Earle and the Dukes at the Crowley Theater on June 14, 2015.

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez, and many others. 1986 saw the release of his debut album, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts. What followed was a varied array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of Train A Comin’ (1995), the politically charged masterpiece Jerusalem (2002), and the Grammy Award-winning albums The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007), and Townes (2009).

On his 16th studio album, Terraplane, Earle pays tribute to the blues, influenced by the blues giants he saw growing up in Texas — Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddy King, Johnny Winter, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Canned Heat, and Billy Gibbons. Recorded in Nashville, the new collection is his homage to the music that he calls “the commonest of human experience, perhaps the only thing that we all truly share,” and a record he has wanted to make for a long time.

It has long been a dream of ours to bring Earle to Far West Texas; we hope you can join us for this special evening with a country legend. Ballroom Marfa members and tri-county residents can purchase tickets for $15 by stopping by or calling the Ballroom Marfa gallery until May 1. Tickets are available to the general public for $30 at the Ballroom Marfa website.

Explore Steve Earle’s canon on YouTube (his 1991 concert at McCabe’s is heartbreaking), and read BOMB Magazine‘s interview with him from 1998.

Steve Earle singing “Darling Commit Me” from the documentary Heartworn Highways (that’s John Hiatt in the red sweater!).

Dev Hynes + Carly Rae Jepsen (Because It’s Thursday)

To celebrate the forthcoming weekend: A slice of ’80s pop love from Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame (we are fans, of course), cowritten with Dev Hynes, who was just here a few weeks ago doing his recording residency as part of Marfa Myths.

Thank You + Marfa Myths Polaroids by Alex Marks

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.

An Artist Statement from Sam Falls

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.

(more…)

Sam Falls at Fondazione Giuliani Gallery

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.

Prada Marfa Update: Restoration Underway

Prada Marfa Repair 4

Restoration is underway at Prada Marfa, as Deputy Director Katherine Shaugnessy reports back with these photos from outside of Valentine. The work on Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation will continue over the next few weeks as we replace the awnings and glass that were damaged in the 2014 site vandalism.

For more information on Prada Marfa — including an official clarification of our policy regarding its maintenance — take a look at our Prada Marfa Explainer.

Prada Marfa Repair 5

Prada Marfa Repair 3

Prada Marfa Repair 2

Prada Marfa Repair 1

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Insider Tips (The Final Part in a Series)

We wrap up our Marfa Myths guide with insider Marfa tips (see previous installments here, here, here, and here). Be sure to check out the Wrong store’s recommendations, too, which are excellent.

Mimms Ranch. Courtesy of the Dixon Water Foundation. Mimms Ranch. Courtesy of the Dixon Water Foundation.

Laura Copelin, associate curator
Take a walk on Mimms Ranch.

 

SEAN DALY AT DO YOUR THING
Ballroom super pal Sean Daly enjoying coffee at Do Your Thing. Photo courtesy of Do Your Thing.

Susan Sutton, executive director
Get a coffee at Do Your Thing and make friends with Bear, one of the coolest dogs in town.

 

 marcus tillaeus, courtesy of flickr
Photo of Stripes by marcus tillaeus, via Flickr.

Liz Janoff, intern
Stripes rules!

 

Ironheart Gym Ironheart Gym: Hammer Strong. Photo courtesy of Ironheart.

Daniel Chamberlin, communications director
Practice good physical fitness at Ironheart Gym, our world-class workout center housed in Marfa’s former Masonic Lodge. And listen to Inter-Dimensional Music on Marfa Public Radio!

 

The Overlook at Mimms Ranch, Marfa, Texas.
The Overlook at Mimms Ranch

Nicki Ittner, music director
1. Wander around Donald Judd’s untitled 15 works in concrete at Chinati. Free, and beautiful. Check in with the front desk before visiting.
2. Visit Mimms Ranch. If you have the time and energy to do a five-mile run or walk (round-trip), head out to the Overlook, designed and built by Joey Benton.
3. Drive down Pinto Canyon Road/2810 at night.
4. Get a Żubrówka buffalo grass vodka martini at Cochineal (it tastes like cookie dough?!).
5. Just (literally, two hours ago) learned that there’s a walking labyrinth at Building 98.

 

New Star Grocery by Charlie Villyard.
New Star Grocery by Charlie Villyard, via Flickr.

Ross Cashiola, artist/contributor to Marfa Myths zine
Go to Linneaus Lorette’s new museum, the New Star Grocery Art Museum (301 West Dallas).

 

MARFA BURRITO BY SPENCER BROWN
Marfa Burrito by Spencer Brown, via Flickr.

Susannah Lipsey, owner of Freda/Host of the Marfa Myths Pop-Up
1. Drive down Pinto Canyon Road
2. Have a beer at Planet Marfa
3. Go to Moonlight Gemstones
4. Eat a Marfa burrito
5. Have a Mexican martini at Maiya’s

Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy of Jen Siska.
Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy of Jen Siska.

And of course, no visit to Marfa is complete without a stop by Ballroom Marfa. We’ll have our spring exhibition up — a solo show by Sam Falls — so please swing by. And for general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

Buy tickets to Marfa Myths here. Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person at Freda and the Ballroom Marfa gallery.

Sam Falls: Light Over Time

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.

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Where to Eat (Part Four in a Series)

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths Festival over March 13-15, 2015, and we hope you’re coming out for it. If you are, our Marfa guide can help. Check out parts one, two, three, and read on for tips on eating in our fair town.

HOURS HERE CAN BE WEIRD
Remember: Marfa is a town of 1900-ish people. It’s not a big city that offers all-hours convenience. Restaurants have odd hours, or can be closed unexpectedly. When it comes to eating, just keep an open mind, be patient, adjust your expectations and take comfort that Stripes is open 24-7. As our communications director Daniel Chamberlin admitted the other day after finding closed doors at every lunch spot on a Tuesday, “Even after five years I don’t remember when things are open sometimes.”

Boyz 2 Men Boyz 2 Men. Photo by Cody Kern, via Flickr.

WHERE SHOULD GO I FOR BREAKFAST?

Boyz 2 Men
220 W San Antonio Street (behind Padre’s) | Saturday & Sunday, 8am–3pm
Breakfast tacos, great for vegans, lot of sass behind the (Airstream) counter. Cash (pesos o dólares) only.

Buns ‘n’ Roses
1613 W San Antonio St | Thursday-Sunday, 7am-2:30pm
Low-key and reliable breakfast + lunch + donuts + flowers.

Cochineal
107 W San Antonio St | Sunday only, 9am-1pm
Upscale brunch.

Do Your Thing
213 S Dean St (in community room) | Friday-Monday, 8:30am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
Delicious espresso drinks and toast, plus (mindblowing) porridge on the weekends, 9:30am-12:30pm.

Frama
120 N. Austin St | 7 days a week, 7:30am-8pm
Big Bend coffee, smoothies and scones (if you get there early enough; weekdays only).

Mando’s
1506 W San Antonio St | Monday-Saturday, 6am-2pm (Closed Sunday)
Traditional breakfast, plus Mexican and American comfort food.

Memo’s
905 W. San Antonio St | Thursday, Friday, Sunday & Monday 8:30am-2:30pm (we think)
Mexican breakfast plates + burgers.

Marfa Burrito
Route 67, on the way to Chinati | Monday-Saturday, 7am-2pm-ish
Delicious breakfast burritos. Cash only.

Squeeze Marfa
215 N Highland Ave | Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-3pm
European-style breakfast with muesli, yogurt, toast & jam and paninis for lunch.

Mando's. Courtesy of Fat Lyle's Instagram.
Enchiladas at Mando’s. Courtesy of Fat Lyle’s Instagram.

NOW WHAT ABOUT LUNCH?
All of the above, plus…

Comida Futura
120 N Highland Avenue | Monday-Friday, 11:30am-4pm
Hearty lunches, innovative sides and delicious desserts.

Food Shark
Airstreamland (220 W San Antonio Street) | Friday–Sunday, 12pm–3pm
The original Mediterranean-by-way-of-West-Texas food truck. Cash only.

Thunderbird Restaurant
603 W. San Antonio | Wednesday–Monday, 11am–3pm
Gourmet sandwiches, salads, fried chicken, homemade ice cream, the best biscuits. On Sunday and Monday: Marfa’s only Asian cuisine. Cash only.

Thunderbird Restaurant. Courtesy of Fat Lyle's Instagram.
Fried chicken, sesame cabbage slaw, two dick billy goat hot sauce and a buttermilk biscuit at the Thunderbird Restaurant/Capri Kitchen. Courtesy of Fat Lyle’s Instagram.

AND FINALLY DINNER?

Cochineal
107 W San Antonio St | 7 days a week, 5:30-10pm
Inventive American cooking. Reservations.

Grilled Cheese Parlour
300 W San Antonio | Friday, 9:30pm-midnight + Saturday, 9:30pm-1:30am
Late-night grilled cheese.

Jett’s Grill at the Hotel Paisano
7 days a week, 5:30pm-9pm, open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday
Classic Southwestern + American fare. Reservations.

Maiya’s
103 N Highland St | Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm-10pm
Modern Italian. Reservations.

Padre’s
209 West El Paso | Wednesday-Friday, 5pm–10pm; Saturday, 2pm–10pm; Sunday, 3pm-10pm
Burgers, tuna melts, & fries (plus Italian Tuesdays).

Planet Marfa
200 S Abbot St | Thursday-Sunday, 2pm–10pm (re-opening on March 12!)
Not exactly a dinner place, but awesome nachos + good vibes.

Beyoncé, Food Shark. Courtesy of Food Shark
Beyoncé at the Grilled Cheese Parlour. Photo via Food Shark, originally from Beyoncé’s tumblr (!).

YO IT’S FRIDAY AND 5PM AND I WANT A BEER AND A SNACK
A few choices: Planet Marfa, Mando’s, Maiya’s and Padre’s. (Jett’s and Cochineal open at 5:30pm.)

YO IT’S MONDAY AND 5PM AND I WANT A BEER AND A SNACK
Mando’s!

WTH IT’S 10PM AND I’M HUNGRY!
If it’s Friday or Saturday, you’re in luck: head to Grilled Cheese Parlour. Otherwise, all the kitchens are closed, except Stripes (the east location, near the flashing stoplight).

IT’S SUNDAY NIGHT, WHERE DO I EAT DINNER?
Cochineal, Jett’s or Dairy Queen. Or a light dinner of nachos at Planet Marfa.

I ARRIVE THURSDAY NIGHT AROUND 9PM, WHERE CAN I EAT DINNER?
Maiya’s may still be serving food, but Cochineal and Padre’s are sure things (for at least 30 minutes). You can also grab some nachos at Planet Marfa, or…there’s always Dairy Queen.

DO I REALLY HAVE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER?
We recommend it. It’s Spring Break, and the town is going to be bonkers. Cochineal, Jett’s and Maiya’s all accept dinner reservations.

IT’S SUNDAY AT 2:30PM, WHERE THE HECK CAN I GET LUNCH?
Food Shark, Planet Marfa (nacho time), Squeeze Marfa (but hurry, they close at 3), and maybe (maybe?) Boyz 2 Men. And there’s always Dairy Queen and Subway (inside Stripes West!).

IT’S MONDAY AT 2:30PM, WHERE THE HECK CAN I GET LUNCH?
Thunderbird Restaurant and Comida Futura are your best bets. (Comida may be low on food, but you can always get a peasant bowl.) Marfa Burrito may still be open, but it’s a longshot. Plus our old friends Dairy Queen and Subway.

WHAT’S OPEN EVERY DAY?
Frama, Cochineal, Jett’s, Dairy Queen and Subway!

Jett's pistacho fried steak
Jett’s insane pistachio fried steak. Photo by Andrea B, via Flickr.

NEXT UP
Check back next week for our final installment, where we reveal insider tips (!!!!). Again, for general info, check out visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find event listings, housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.