In the one-stop-light, west Texas desert town of Marfa, international art-lovers and gallery-goers road trip across miles of dramatic, brushy terrain from distant locales—and some, of course, drop in via private jet in the tiny municipal air field. Home of the mysterious “Marfa Lights,” perched on the edge of the U.S. border with Mexico, and made art-famous in the 1970s when Donald Judd bought over a dozen decaying buildings, three ranches, and an entire decommissioned Army base across 40,000 acres of what he described as a “clean” setting to make and display his work, it has transformed into an unlikely, far-flung cultural mecca. (Visitors can book tours of Judd’s installations and those of well-known friends like Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain at the Chinati Foundation.) And then there’s Prada Marfa by Elmgreen & Dragset, an installation commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in 2005 that replicates a Prada boutique in the middle of the desert—just a few miles west along U.S. Route 90.
In 2018, Ballroom Marfa commissioned its second major artwork titled Stone Circle by London-based artist Haroon Mirza, a solar-powered sculpture installed in the high desert grasslands just east of town. The boulders reference enigmatic neolithic monuments like Stonehenge, which were constructed by humans thousands of years ago for spiritual communion or ritual gatherings that archaeologists believe were timed to align with the changing seasons, solstices, or cosmic events. Part of Mirza’s ongoing Solar Symphonies series, the Marfa installation integrates LED lights and speakers that respond to signals sent by a “mother” stone, a megalith set apart from the others and mounted with solar panels that activate the artist’s sound and light score when charged by the light of the sun.
Stone Circle will remain in the west Texas landscape for several years and is free to visit during the gallery’s regular opening hours. A series of Full Moon Activations, scheduled in line with the lunar calendar, are currently planned through July, with the next activation on February 5 at 7:06pm CST.
Learn more about the work and book your visit to a Full Moon Activation on Ballroom Marfa’s website.
All images © Haroon Mirza and Ballroom Marfa