marfa

“Hello Meth Lab in the Sun”

Ballroom Marfa

Is it better to have seen—experienced might be more appropriate—the work of Mike Nelson, Christoph Büchel, or Gregor Schneider prior to encountering Hello Meth Lab in the Sun? In one way, yes, since those artists provide a context for this (relatively) new breed of installation art in which galleries and other spaces are transformed into labyrinthine, hyperrealist fun houses. As with Büchel’s and Nelson’s works, Meth Lab looked like an assortment of abandoned spaces, but the chambers were actually constructed from scratch by Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe, and Alexandre Singh (and a bevy of assistants), albeit with found objects and fixtures. Similarly, they draw on the vocabulary of Kurt Schwitters, Surrealist exhibition design, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and Ed and Nancy Kienholz. (Marfa itself feels like an appropriate location for Meth Lab, as the west Texas outpost for Donald Judd’s own

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