Solange Knowles Will Perform in Marfa, Texas, With the Best Backdrop Ever: a Donald Judd Installation

Following a striking performance in the Guggenheim, Solange is taking on the artistic enclave for her next show.

Solange Knowles. Courtesy Guggenheim.

Because performing in the Guggenheim’s rotunda wasn’t epic enough, Solange Knowles is cementing her art-world credibility with a performance in front of a Donald Judd installation in Marfa, Texas, this October.

Solange first debuted “Scales,” a mix of compositions and original arrangements from her 2016 album A Seat at the Table at Houston’s Menil Collection, where she and her band performed in front of a massive Cy Twombly painting. Now, the singer will stage a performance of the work in the field where Donald Judd’s piece 15 Untitled Works in Concrete is installed at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, according to Pitchfork.

The location choice is no accident, according to the singer. “Donald Judd’s ’15 untitled works in concrete’ has had such profound influence on the way I view the world, and I am beyond honored to deliver a site specific version of my performance piece…” she wrote in an Instagram post announcing the event.

Marfa is the small town art enclave where sculptor Donald Judd set up camp in the early 1970s, infusing the tumbleweed town with the cool minimalism that first informed Calvin Klein’s spartan aesthetic and has only grown in popularity over the past few years. The town recently elected an artist as mayor and is the setting for the latest Jill Soloway series I Love Dick, starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn.

Solange debuted "Scales" at the Menil Collection in Houston, TX in April 2017. Image © Saint Heron, courtesy of Enmi Yang, Cary Fagan, & Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Solange debuted “Scales” at the Menil Collection in Houston, TX in April 2017. Image © Saint Heron, courtesy of Enmi Yang, Cary Fagan, & Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Solange, of course, is no stranger to the art world. Following the release of A Seat at the Table, she began a performance series incorporating interpretive choreography. For her performance at the Guggenheim in March, “An Ode To,” attendees were required to wear white and submit their electronic devices at the door while Solange, flanked by a troupe of dancers and musicians, moved in coordinated arrangements through the circular design of the space.

Even after performing at the Guggenheim, Solange did not hesitate to criticize the history of museums like it. In a tweet that has since been deleted, she wrote, “I don’t care much about the institutions” and challenged women of color “tear the got damn walls down.” The singer’s performances often draw inspiration from black artists, who have long been left out of institutional collections and programming.

The work hasn’t gone unnoticed. In May, Kara Walker presented Solange with the Webby Award for Artist of the Year this May, noting the singer’s commitment to cultural diversity and artistic collaboration with her online platform, Saint Heron.

“Scales” will take place during Chinati Foundation Weekend from October 6–8, though details have yet to be released.


Donald Judd’s 15 untitled works in concrete (1980–1984). Photo © Chinati Foundation and Donald Judd.

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