Tag Archives: marfa




Organized by crystal am nelson

October 5 – November 2, 2013
in Marfa, Texas

Opening Reception:
October 5: 2-4 pm
Adobe House Gallery
corner of S. Dean and E. Dallas Streets (enter on E. Dallas)

Featuring work by:
Big Bend Saddlery, C3, Allan deSouza, Justin Hoover, Anna Jaquez, Jason Kolker, Enrique Madrid, Mattie Matthaei, C.M. Mayo, Feather Radha, Andrei Renteria

A Franchise Program winning exhibition.

Marfa, a city whose allure in the art world extends far beyond those who have actually visited, stands alone, geographically and culturally. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert/Big Bend region of Texas, it is a six-hour drive from Austin and three hours from the nearest international airport, in El Paso. The town’s biggest employers are national law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Border Patrol, and more than twenty of the best paying jobs in Marfa are with the U.S. Air Force’s aerostat surveillance program. Marfa’s next biggest revenue stream is art tourism, which is serious business despite its remote location and scarce amenities. However, in the public imagination, Marfa is the city Donald Judd built with the backing of the Dia Foundation and a vision of anarchist minimalist utopia.

Certainly this image of the lone artist as pioneer, taming the Wild West with aesthetics is a striking and romantic one, aligned with the aura and history of Far West Texas. But, long before Donald Judd arrived in Marfa, long before the town was named Marfa, people from diverse backgrounds—Apache, Comanche, Spaniards, Mexicans, Tejanos, and Anglo-American pioneering cowboys—built communities on the surrounding arid landscape and laid the foundation for Marfa’s unique cultural enchantments. Unfortunately, in spite of his importance in bringing attention to the remote city, Judd’s legacy has obscured much of this history and what contributes to making Marfa such a compelling cultural capital. How does one begin to reconcile these seemingly disparate and diametrically opposed community elements that are simultaneously autonomous from and interdependent on each other? What happens when contact turns to conflict? Or when divergence transforms into convergence?

Heterotopia attempts to respond to these concerns by redrawing Marfa’s cultural map to illuminate its pre-Judd history and post-Judd impact, highlighting under-recognized subjectivities, and bringing to the fore contemporary cultural production happening on the periphery of the city’s blue-chip art scene. The strategy is to exhibit local traditional, vernacular, and contemporary artists alongside international artists in order to underscore their proximities. At Heterotopia’s core is art representing the Jumano-Apache Indian heritage, Chicano art, and cowboy art, a genre that celebrates the traditional arts and lifestyle in cowboy culture of the American West. The work of international artists will address issues related to the exhibition’s meta-concepts of contact zones and their ever-accumulating pasts, transcultural exchange, and hybridity. Through its installation, the exhibition hopes to decentralize the art-viewing experience by using multiple sites, primarily non-art specific venues throughout the city to introduce visitors to its less-trafficked locations. A commissioned audio file will be provided to assist them in physically and conceptually navigating the sites. Additionally we will program screenings and lectures about Marfa’s unseen scenes and the myths circulating its mainstream identity.

Image credit: crystal am nelson, Welcome to Marfa, 2013

reposted from