Purple Institute

[March 30 2009]


I’m here in the desert of Marfa, Texas for a month-long residency at The Chinati Foundation. There are the most amazing John Chamberlain works. He is my favorite American sculptor — cars crushed into giant balls, violent and passionate monsters. He started the Chinati Foundation with Donald Judd. Chamberlain is 83-years old now and still makes sculptures out of cars.

Here, I’m working with elements of the enviroment. I like working like this which is fortunate because there is pretty much nothing else here to work with. Christopher Wool has a studio down here, and we drove around yesterday taking pictures of these three-dimensional collages made by locals in their backyards out of car parts and what most consider garbage. We also took some amazing pictures of these architectural landscapes around here which remind me of Richard Prince sculptures.

I’m calling this the Month of the Marfa Crash Sketch because all that I brought down to Texas was an old drawing that I started mixing up with what I found here. The sketch has danger and fearlessness, passion, sex and continuity in a vast space. To find those things I need to go with the flow. My flow is made from this crash and I’ll take it all back to the city to mix up this fresh blood. I’m hanging out with Ty Mitchell, this outlaw cowboy who tells me about rattlesnake bites, smuggling guns and drugs and bike crashes in the middle of the night. He has been an outlaw since he was sentenced to an El Salvador jungle war and never made it back to civilization. He fears nothing and his attitude makes him the coolest man I’ve ever met. He is the most primitive man, yet with all the grace of a gentleman. He wants to take me to his ranch too — I feel like I’m living in a movie like The Misfits or Paris Texas. Christopher Wool met him too. We all hung out one day while we were taking pictures and I was nervous that they wouldn’t get along, but they are both so open and they ended up getting along well. I was nervous for them to meet because they are both really intense people in their own right – Christopher is this really intelligent bad ass and Ty is this poetic outlaw cowboy. Christopher had read a book about some gangster who was like the Texas Al Capone and turned out it was Ty’s boss back in the gun smuggling days! Text and photos Rita Ackermann

Subscribe to our newsletter