Marfa Dialogues


Scenes from the AFI 2015 Screenings With Brigid McCaffrey and Ren Lallatin


Images from the Artists’ Film International screenings of Brigid McCaffrey films at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas. The screenings were followed by a question and answer session with McCaffrey and Ren Lallatin, the subject of her 2013 film Paradise Springs. All photos by Alex Marks. More info at our AFI 2015 page, and on Facebook.

See photos from Sunday’s geology tour at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute here and on Facebook.







Artists’ Film International 2015: Full Schedule!

AFI 2015 Poster

The complete schedule for Artists’ Film International 2015 is now available. The full series of films – including work from Serbia, Afghanistan, Argentina, Italy, Vietnam, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Norway, and the United Kingdom – will be screenings on Saturday, November 14 at the Crowley Theater here in Marfa.

The drop-in screenings run from 10a-6p, with new cycles beginning at: 10:10am, 12:30pm, and 2:50pm.

The featured screening of short films by Brigid McCaffrey takes place later that night, with doors at 7pm and screenings commencing at 7:30pm.

Morning screenings will feature free coffee from Do Your Thing and pastries by Ginger Hillery. In the afternoon we’ll have gratis popcorn and beer from Big Bend Brewing Co.

And then please join us on Sunday, November 15 from 1-3pm for a geology walk and conversation at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute in Fort Davis, Texas.

The walk will be led by Ren Lallatin, the subject of McCaffrey’s film 2013 film Paradise Springs, along with Sul Ross geology lecturer Jesse Kelsch.

More information on the AFI 2015 event page!

Ballroom Marfa & Mexican Summer Present Marfa Myths, March 10-13, 2016

Marfa Myths. Design by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny.

Marfa Myths is a cultural program taking place March 10 – 13, 2016 in Marfa, Texas. Curated by Ballroom Marfa and Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer, Marfa Myths features artists and musicians from within and outside of the label’s roster working creatively and collaboratively across music, film, and visual arts contexts. Following a successful 2015 program bringing more than 600 international attendees, Marfa Myths enters its third year in 2016.

2016 programming for Marfa Myths includes a recording residency with Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood) and a special collaborator to be announced during the festival, a daytime performance by William Basinski, a Friday night after party featuring Awesome Tapes From Africa, and new audio/visual performances by Dungen and Raum (Liz Harris/Grouper and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma) with Paul Clipson, along with a selection of short films at Crowley Theater presented by Anthology Recordings, the reissue subsidiary of Mexican Summer. Live programming throughout the weekend includes performances from Parquet Courts, No Age, Quilt with Mary Lattimore, Sheer Mag, and LA legend Emitt Rhodes‘ first live show since 1973.

A central objective of Marfa Myths is to engage with the Marfa community and its esteemed cultural institutions. An artist enclave tucked into the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in Far West Texas, Marfa has become a destination for contemporary art since the arrival of Donald Judd and the establishment of The Chinati Foundation in 1986. This year, Marfa Myths and Judd Foundation will partner for a Saturday afternoon performance of a site-specific work by New York artist and turntablist Maria Chavez at The Block, Judd’s residence and studio in Marfa.

Ballroom Marfa was established in 2003 in a 1927-era ballroom, now converted into a nonprofit contemporary art and performance space. Since 2003, Ballroom Marfa has organized over 40 multidisciplinary art exhibitions and performances, including work such as Elmgreen & Dragset’s Prada Marfa and Rashid Johnson’s Shea Butter Irrigation System. Ballroom’s past music programs include concerts and commissioned work from Julianna Barwick, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Tinariwen, Beach House, Alex Waterman, and Graham Reynolds.

DC 1974 Dan Colen
Coming Down Again, 2014
Oil on canvas
89 1/2 x 119 in

Ballroom Marfa will open a group exhibition developed with New York-based artist Dan Colen — with a reception on Friday, March 11 — to coincide with the Marfa Myths weekend. This visual arts program will examine the medium of painting in Colen’s most recent body of work, offering new interpretations of landscape, sublimity, and spirituality.

As with last year’s event, there will be an exclusive, limited edition 12″ documenting Weyes Blood’s residential collaboration alongside a Marfa Myths journal designed by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny and featuring contributions from Marfa-based artists and writers along with participating festival artists.

Marfa Myths. Design by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny.

Buy tickets to Marfa Myths here. Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person at the Ballroom Marfa gallery. Read our tips for getting to Marfa and where to stay (and you can always check out last year’s guide).

Marfa Myths: Where to Stay

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the third Marfa Myths over March 10-13, 2016. Check out our tips on getting to Marfa and read on about lodging options.


Marfa has five hotels:

Hotel Saint George
Opening in early 2016, the Hotel Saint George will offer 55 rooms, great views, two restaurants, and a bar/lounge, right in the heart of downtown Marfa. The great Marfa Book Company will be located conveniently in the lobby. Accepting reservations in early 2016.

Hotel Paisano
West Texas gem. Restored hotel with original architectural details, plus an outdoor pool and a restaurant. The cast of Giant — Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson—stayed here during filming. Rooms start at $99.

Thunderbird Hotel
1950s motel converted into minimalist-chic retreat with modern art-laden rooms, a pool & fire pits. Bicycles also available to rent. The delicious Capri Kitchen conveniently located across the street. Rooms start at $185.

El Cosmico
El Cosmico is an 18-acre trailer, tent and teepee hotel and campground. Bicycles and wood-fired hot tubs are available to rent. A hammock grove and an outdoor kitchen with a fridge, sink and barbecue grills add to the bohemian vibe. Camping is risky business in March in West Texas, but you never know, the weather may cooperate. Rates start at $95 for a safari tent (which have beds with heated mattress pads, in case the temperatures drop).

Riata Inn
Roadside motel with big rooms and a cold pool. Cheapest option in town. Note: You probably need a car to stay here, unless you’re a good walker, or plan on renting a bike from Bizarro Bikes.

Marfa also has one bed and breakfast, the Arcon Inn.

Marfa, Photo by Justina Villanueva
Marfa. Photo by Justina Villanueva.

There are many great houses and rooms available for rent in the area — check out all the options on VRBO and airbnb. We recommend booking as soon as you have your travel plans in place.

If you can’t find anything in Marfa, never fear! Try Fort Davis (21 miles away) and Alpine (27 miles away). Though a bit of a trek, both are manageable. Plus Alpine is a university town, so there are lots of budget motel options — not to mention Alicia’s and Big Bend Saddlery. Fort Davis has the historic Indian Lodge, which was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and a great thrift store.

Mimms Ranch, October 4, 2014. Photo by Jennifer Boomer.
Mimms Ranch, Marfa. Photo by Jennifer Boomer.

For general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit and, where you can find housing suggestions, ride shares, and more. And once you’re here, use last year’s insider tips to navigate your journey.

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

Marfa Myths: Getting to Marfa

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are excited to present the third Marfa Myths over March 10-13, 2016. This year’s festival promises to be the best yet — Sheer Mag is playing Saturday night! Real News heroes Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny are designing the Marfa Myths journal! Emitt Rhodes‘ first live show since 1973! — and if you’re considering the journey (how could you not), here are tips on how to get here.


You can get to Marfa via car; plane; and train (though be aware that the train will only take you to Alpine, which is 25 miles away — but you can rent a car from Alpine Auto Rental).

The closest airports are El Paso and Midland, both about three hours away (directions from each here). Air travel to Marfa can be an all-day affair (unfortunately, there are no direct flights from the East Coast), so just steel yourself, and plan to have a drink once you arrive. Other notes:

• If you fly into El Paso, rent a car, pick up a snack at Taco Cabana or Pho Tre Bien, and blast the radio (El Paso’s Fox Jukebox is awesome; as you get closer to Marfa, tune in to Marfa Public Radio/KRTS 93.5). Driving after dark can be a bit grueling: if you can schedule it, roll into Marfa around sunset.

• If you are traveling to Marfa from El Paso, please be aware that the time zone changes from Mountain Time Zone to Central Standard Time, and you lose one hour.

• There is a municipal airport in Marfa (three miles from Marfa) and one in Alpine (26 miles from Marfa), which can service most private jets (for a list of charter companies, please see this list). We think there’s a shuttle from the Marfa airport — just call to confirm.
Marfa Municipal Airport: (432) 729-4452
Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport: (432) 837-5929


Marfa, Texas

If you’re driving from Austin, it takes seven hours; from San Antonio, six hours. (Flying from either of these places doesn’t really make sense.) Houston and Dallas are about 9-10 hours away — flying cuts down on that journey, but doesn’t give you quite the flexibility. Directions:

From the East: Take Interstate 10 West to Ft. Stockton. Exit onto Highway 67 South. Travel 47 miles to where Highway 67 South intersects with Highway 90 West (right around Alpine). Continue on Highway 67/90 for 34 miles until you reach Marfa.

From the west: Take Interstate 10 East to Van Horn. Exit onto Highway 90 East. Travel 74 miles to Marfa. (You’ll also pass Prada Marfa on Highway 90, about 35 miles from Marfa. It will be on your right, just before you enter the town of Valentine, Texas.) Driving time: approximately three hours from El Paso; 17 hours from Los Angeles. Please note El Paso and Marfa are in different time zones.

From the north: From Midland/Odessa, take Interstate 20 West to Pecos. In Pecos, turn left onto Highway 17 South (in Pecos, consider stopping by Pody’s BBQ for a glass of sweet tea, baked potato, and a chop beef sandwich). Travel Highway 17 South through Balmorrhea, Ft. Davis, and into Marfa.

From the south: Take Highway 67 North from Presidio to Marfa.

Out the driver side window
Sunset on the drive into Marfa


• Marfa is a town of about 1900 people, and doesn’t have all the conveniences of a large city. Adjust your expectations (we have no drugstore; things close early), and see these quirks as part of the adventure. You might consider stocking up on snacks and water prior to arrival: there are only two groceries in town, plus a Dollar General. (You might also get cash, too — we have only three ATMs, and none are chain banks.)

• Book your lodging as soon as you have your travel plans in place. Hotels in Marfa and VRBOs/airbnbs will fill up, as it’s also Spring Break that week.

• Most Marfa galleries, shops, and restaurants are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Plan out-of-town excursions or your departure on these days.

• If you are flying into El Paso, or driving from the West, please be aware that you will pass through a Border Patrol Checkpoint on your way to Marfa. (You’ll also pass Prada Marfa on Highway 90, about 35 miles from Marfa. It will be on your right, just before you enter the town of Valentine, Texas.)

• If you don’t drive, and need a pickup at the El Paso or Midland airport, try posting on Marfalist for a shared ride or pickup.

• We’re in the high desert, about a mile above sea level, and the altitude and dryness can be hard on newcomers. Stay hydrated!

• Cell phone reception can be spotty out here, especially if you have AT&T.

For general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit and, where you can find event postings, 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 the Ballroom Marfa gallery.

AFI – Brigid McCaffrey En Español

ParadiseSprings04 Brigid McCaffrey
Paradise Springs, 2013
Digital video still
33 minutes

Cine Internacional de Artistas – Brigid McCaffrey
Comisariado por Laura Copelin

sábado, 14 de noviembre
10:00 – 18:00 Proyecciones de selecciones internacionales de AFI
19:00 Proyección destacada de cortometrajes por Brigid McCaffrey
Crowley Theater
Marfa, Texas

domingo, 15 de noviembre
13:00 – 15:00 Camino y conversación de geología
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute
Fort Davis, Texas

Organizado conjuntamente con Whitechapel Gallery, Londres, a Ballroom Marfa le complace presentar la temporada 2015 de Artists’ Film International, un programa que muestra artistas internacionales que trabajan en cine y animación. Este año Ballroom Marfa destacará las obras de la cineasta Brigid McCaffrey, basada en la ciudad de Los Angeles.

Las películas recientes se establecen en paisajes que transmiten precariedad y flujo. Su forma de realizar documentales se enfoca en ambientes y gente en transición, y ella mantiene en mente a estos sujetos por largos periodos de tiempo. Estas obras meditan en la tension entre individualismo y comunidad en el medio de realidades instables económicamente y ecológicamente. Formado por el proceso de retrato, las películas responden a los cambios fiscales y emocionales de sus personajes, creando documentos que fusionan representaciones del mismo y del lugar.

Ballroom Marfa tendrá una proyección gratuita de una selección de la obra de McCaffrey, que incluye su película de 2013 Paradise Springs, la cual se sigue a Ren Lallatin, un geólogo que estudia el Desierto de Mojave. Lallatin traza sus actualidades volcánicas y sísmicas; localiza fuentes de agua y reliquias de habitantes anteriores; y identifica características de paisajes que ocultará su refugio a vista del publico. La película consiste en una sucesión de soliloquios errantes y cruces de terreno. El geólogo deambula mientras describe sus interacciones con el mundo natural, y declara su rechazo de regulación de tierra y privatización.

Las películas de McCaffrey serán proyectadas al lado de selecciones de otras instituciones internacionales del 2015 AFI en el Crowley Theater en Marfa. Las proyecciones serán presentadas de formato loop todo el día. La cita es el sábado, 14 de noviembre, 2015. Una conversación con McCaffrey y Lallatin seguirá en la tarde.

Entre las actividades también incluirá una conversación y caminata de geología al aire libre dirigida por Lallatin y Jesse Kelsche, una conferencista de geología de la Universidad de Sul Ross. La caminata/lectura tomará lugar en el instituto sin fines de lucro, The Cihuanhuhan Desert Research Institute. La cita es el domingo, 15 de noviembre, 2015. Todos los eventos son gratuitos y abiertos al publico.

Las proyecciones de películas como parte del evento del sábado de AFI incluye las selecciones de las siguientes instituciones:

Belgrade Cultural Centre, Serbia
Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan (CCAA), Kabul
Cinematheque de Tanger, Tángier
City Gallery, Kfar Saba
Fundación PRÓA, Buenos Aires
GAMeC, Bergamo Italia
Hanoi DOCLAB, Hanoi
Istanbul Modern, Estanbul
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Varsovia
National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscú
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlín
Para/Site, Hong Kong
Project 88, Mumbai
Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø
Whitechapel Gallery, Londres

Brigid McCaffrey (n. 1978) es una cineasta experimental y documental quien recide en la ciudad de Los Angeles. Ella trabaja en cine y video. Sus películas han estado en varios cines incluyendo BAFICI, Bradford Internacional Film Festival, Cinema de Reel, DocLisboa, L’Alternativa, el Rotterdam International Film Festival, Torino International Film Festival, Other Cinema in San Francisco, y el Los Angeles Filmforum. Su película Castaic Lake estuvo galardonada como la mejor cinematografia en el Ann Arbor Film Festival en el 2011. Paradise Springs recibió el Marian McMahon Award en Images Festival en el 2014. Ella recibió una maestría en Cine y Video de CalArts y una licenciatura en Fotografia y Cine de Bard College.

Rhyannon (Ren) Lallatin es un lama budista de ascendencia celta y indigna norteamericano. Como profesor, Ren ofreció cursos de pregraduado y postgraduado en geología/geofísica, ecopsicología y los estudios indignas norteamericanos, y todo ello entretejido en su conjunto educativo. Un jardinero ávido del Desierto de Mojave, diseñador de los ecosistemas y herbolario, Ren prospera de la relación recíproca inteligente con el consciente, la tierra viva, y el universo. Ser transgénero, Ren utiliza esa palabra en el sentido de ser trascendente de género. Esto indica la plenitud original no limitada por los dictados de la cultura o la personificación actual.

Jesse Kelsch ha estudiado y trabajado como geóloga en su lugar favorito, al suroeste de los Estados Unidos, desde 1993. Ella tiene una licenciatura en Geociencias de la Universidad de Arizona y una maestría en la Tierra y Ciencias Planetarias de la Universidad de Nuevo México. Ella trabajó como hidrogeólogo en Nuevo México y el oeste de Texas hasta que se mudó a Alpine, Texas en 2006. Ella ahora enseña geología en la Universidad de Sul Ross. Su objetivo en la enseñanza es conseguir que sus estudiantes dejen el salón de clases y salgan al campo tanto como sea posible, para fomentar la investigación entre los estudiantes universitarios, y fomentar la investigación científica a todos aquellos que lo deseen. Ella es también la presidenta de la Alpine Humane Society.

Glasstire on Ed Atkins in Äppärät

30 Ed Atkins
Even Pricks, 2013
Looped 16:10 HD video with 5.1 surround sound
Courtesy the artist and Ballroom Marfa
Photo by Thierry Bal

Christina Rees ponders over Ed Atkins’ Even Pricks (2013), part of our current Äppärät group exhibition, curated by Tom Morton…

Atkins’ images, which unfurl and flicker in a kind of methodical, episodic rhythm, are 100% CGI. There isn’t a pixel in them Atkins hasn’t essentially created from scratch, and this dreamlike surrealism runs beyond the intentional into something else: I want to call his work post-verbal, but as narrative it might actually be pre-received, or pre-processed. I mean that because we live with images on screen all the time and have for years, our instinct for Atkins is already in our blood, even if our ability to describe his intention isn’t yet fully formed. We internet addicts of a specific vintage—I mean we who’ve straddled a world both with and without personal computers—can locate Atkins’ fake-real markers well enough. Here it’s rendered human hands, a chimpanzee, leaves, water, sky, a bed. The insistent, grabby text frames look hokey and familiar, too. Thus we automatically understand that something is happening here we might recognize. That’s what hooks us, and our hunger to realize his pattern of communication is engaged like a heat-seeking missile.

Keep reading at Glasstire. Read Morton’s notes on the exhibition here.

Fairfax Dorn in the Wall Street Journal Magazine


Photography by Martyn Thompson for WSJ. Magazine

The Wall Street Journal Magazine profiles Ballroom Marfa Co-Founder and Artistic Director Fairfax Dorn and the New York home she shares with husband Marc Glimcher. Whitney Robins offers an insightful perspective on the thinking that informed Ballroom’s founding in 2003, and that drives the creative vision behind our organization as we prepare to enter our 13th year. As Flavin Judd tells it,

“It takes guts—and vision,” adds Flavin, who manages the Judd Foundation along with his sister, Rainer. He’s talking about the ambitious programming by Ballroom Marfa, which Dorn co-founded in 2003 with fellow arts enthusiast Virginia Lebermann. Since then, Ballroom Marfa has continued to host shows of daring new work by art stars such as Peter Doig, Sam Falls and Rashid Johnson in its gallery space on Judd’s doorstep. “In some ways, my father saved Marfa from becoming a dusty, abandoned Border Patrol stop,” he says. “But in other ways it was Fairfax and Virginia who did it. They put their faith in the future of Marfa.”

Keep reading in the Wall Street Journal Magazine.

Äppärät Champagne Tour Friday October 9 at 5pm

Champagne Tour

As part of the Chinati Foundation’s Made in Marfa schedule of events over Chinati Weekend, Ballroom Marfa will host a tour of Äppärät, on Friday, October 9 at 5pm.

Curated by Tom Morton, Äppärät is a show about the mammalian hand, and the tools it touches, holds and uses. Taking its title from the name of a fictional, post-iPhone device at the center of Gary Shteyngart’s 2010 near-future novel Super Sad True Love Story, Äppärät is concerned with labor, play and the uncertain zone between the two; with the extension of the body, and the self, through technologies ancient and contemporary; with things (to borrow Martin Heidegger’s formulation) “present-at” and “ready-to” hand; with compulsion and with death.

Äppärät features 13 artists from across Europe, the Americas, and Asia, from major art historical figures to practitioners in the early phase of their careers, including Ed Atkins, Trisha Donnelly, Melvin Edwards, Cécile B. Evans, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Roger Hiorns, Sophie Jung, Lee Lozano, Marlie Mul, Damián Ortega, Charles Ray, Shimabuku, and Paul Thek.

The tour will be led by Ballroom Marfa Associate Curator Laura Copelin. Complimentary champagne will be served in the Ballroom Marfa shop.

Äppärät is on view through February 14, 2016. Read curator Tom Morton’s exhibition notes here.

Äppärät Opening Reception

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Scenes from the September 25, 2015 opening reception for Äppärät. The event featured performance works from Sophie Jung and Roger Hiorns, and was followed by a DJ set by Mike Simonetti. Thanks to everyone who came out!

All photos by Alex Marks.

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärätat Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärätat Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Tobin Levy, Susan Sutton, Caitlin Murray, Tim Johnson

Tobin Levy, Susan Sutton, Caitlin Murray, Tim Johnson

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Äppärät at Ballroom Marfa

Duncan Kennedy, Katherine Shaugnessy

Duncan Kennedy, Katherine Shaugnessy

Asa Merritt, Gory Smelley

Asa Merritt, Gory Smelley

Sabrina Franzheim, Fairfax Dorn, Marc Glimcher

Sabrina Franzheim, Fairfax Dorn, Marc Glimcher

Adam Helms, Maria Julia Marometti, Mathew Day Jackson, Jenny Moore

Adam Helms, Maria Julia Marometti, Mathew Day Jackson, Jenny Moore