T Magazine on MD/NY and “Ballroom’s Expanding Sphere of Influence”

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From “Can Marfa Bring Its Magic to Manhattan?” in T Magazine

You don’t have to be a scientist, engineer or policy maker to weigh in on the impact of climate change. Right now, all around New York City, visual artists, architects and performers are tackling the subject as part of Marfa Dialogues/New York, a two-month series of environmentally engaged public events.

The ambitious festival is organized by Ballroom Marfa, a tiny gallery in the tiny West Texas hamlet of Marfa (population 1,899, according to last year’s census). But the desert town’s cultural footprint has long belied its size. In 1971, the Minimalist artist Donald Judd arrived there from Manhattan, and subsequently transformed a decommissioned Army base into the Chinati Foundation, an indoor/outdoor museum that is a favorite pilgrimage of the art cognoscenti. More recently, a wave of artists has moved there. “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men” were both filmed there, and in 2008, the town got its own film festival. Founded in 2003 in a former dance hall, Ballroom Marfa serves as a younger counterpart to the Judd compound. Its year-round programming balances the emerging with the established (Takashi Murakami balloons, screenings with John Waters, a Bon Iver concert), helping place Marfa within the broader cultural consciousness. This year’s New York migration offers proof of Ballroom’s expanding sphere of influence.

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