Donald Judd and Marfa, Texas: The Legacy
Kenneth Baker and Stephan Pascher in conversation
Saturday, February 7th, 2 pm
Art critic Kenneth Baker and artist Stephan Pascher will appear in conversation Saturday, February 7, at Steven Wolf Fine Arts to discuss the legacy of Marfa, Texas, a small West Texas town transformed by Donald Judd into a museum devoted to his work and that of his friends.
The conversation will take place against the backdrop of Pascher's exhibition Who got the Chickens? and it will focus on Judd's motives for relocating from New York, the growth and significance of art pilgrimage sites, and how they relate to the local land and populations.
Stephan Pascher is a New York-based artist who has exhibited internationally.
Kenneth Baker is art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of Minimalism: Art of Circumstance, published by Abbeville Press, and The Lightning Field, Yale University Press.
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Who Got The Chickens is the question at the center of Stephan Pascher's new exhibition at Steven Wolf Fine Arts. The New York-based artist never directly answers it, but there is a whole lot of finger-pointing in this multi-part installation which explores the clash of a dominant culture defined by high art with a much less valorized vernacular one.
The question comes from the title of a story Pascher recently wrote, which takes place in a town a lot like Marfa, Texas, and features a main character a lot like Donald Judd, though he goes by James Dean. Chickens are slaughtered, sculptures conserved and suspicions aroused under the border town's stark moonlit sky in this short, elliptical tale, which has been published by the gallery as a photobook.
Pascher will install in the gallery's main room a large sculpture that is part chicken coop part Judd box. The work displays a fondness for Judd's masculine forms and his storied investigations into objecthood but problematizes them as signifiers of cultural value and questions the way that value has been used—by the artist himself—to gentrify a small west Texas town.
Pascher's installation in the project room explores more broadly the absurd way art's aestheticizing power is used by culture to define and control an uncontrollable world. Expanding on the western theme with its connotations of untamed frontier and manifest destiny, Pascher produced a series of tumbleweed photos with their precise location determined by GPS and hand-printed on the surface. For Pascher, trying to pin down an object so transient is like trying to take a census on Skid Row and lavishing so much technology on such a frivolous pursuit captures the lunacy and prodigality of our cultural moment.
Stephan Pascher has exhibited extensively in both the US and Europe, most recently at Orchard, NY, CIFO, Miami, Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, and Passagen Konsthall, Linköping, Sweden. His writings have appeared in Afterall, Merge Magazine, Springerin, Metropolis, a collection entitled The Museum as Arena and others. He has taught at The School of Visual Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Malmö Art Academy, Rutgers University, Cooper Union, and most recently, the Sotheby's Institute of Art.