Mateo and Malinda Galindo premiere ¿Tierra y Qué? Gallery 

MARFA — Curators and husband-and-wife duo Mateo and Malinda Galindo have premiered a new gallery space titled ¿Tierra y Qué?, currently showcasing a lineup largely made up of Indigenous artists and interrogating humans’ relationship to the land they occupy.

Though the gallery hosted a soft opening on April 22, another opening will take place this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. at 310 West San Antonio Street. The gallery will also be open for viewing on Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The new gallery was born out of the couple’s desire to launch their own space, which will host a revolving door of artists and performers and also sell the displayed work to collectors.

“We’d been working with institutions and within a fellowship, so working within spaces that were already established, and we wanted to start something new and try selling work as well, which is something we’ve never done,” said Mateo, a sound artist as well as curator.

Mateo hails from Carlsbad, New Mexico — a stone’s throw from the Big Bend, by Far West Texas standards — but has family roots in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Presidio’s sister city across the border. He and Malinda made the trek to Marfa in 2020, when he was exploring his family history in the region. A few years later, Malinda would be offered the role of associate director of development at The Chinati Foundation, prompting the couple to move to Marfa from New York City.

Mateo and Malinda had already established a curatorial platform, Atomic Culture, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and saw the launching of their Marfa space as a continuation of that venture. In fact, many of the artists currently on display in the Marfa gallery are those they had pre-existing relationships with thanks to Atomic Culture.

“We felt their work would look really great here and be really strong here,” said Mateo.

Artists currently on view in the space include Andre Janacua, Livia Corona Benjamin, Suzanne Kite, Steven Yazzie, and Nathan Young. The space is filled almost exclusively with visual works, a departure from the couple’s previous curatorial venture, which consisted mostly of “performance and time-based” art, said Malinda.

There is one piece at the gallery by Steven Yazzie along that vein — a very real-seeming real estate sign outside the building advertising “Gold King & Associates,” prompting interested parties to call a number to inquire about the presumably for-sale property. Callers will be met not with an eager real estate agent but with a voice recording about land use, colonization, and environmental concerns stemming from overdevelopment. At the end of the message, callers have the option of  leaving a message, which will be archived and become part of the work.

But other works hang from or lean against the walls, as do the broadcloth works of Nathan Young and the vinyl lanyard and bead compositions from Andrew Janacua. Pieces from Livia Corona Benjamin’s Infinite Rewrite series show unique renderings of the conoidal grain silos once constructed in rural Mexico to support independent farming communities, many of which now sit abandoned, “rising from the landscape like the silent architectural patrimony of a now archaic-seeming socialism that only a few decades ago had promised so much,” per Benjamin’s artist statement on the pieces.

Suzanne Kite’s works of computerized embroidery are examples of her work in the intersection of Lakota philosophy, technology and artificial intelligence. One piece contains conductive thread embroidered into black leather — the thread isn’t hooked up to anything, representing the Lakota concept of “the potential for transformation or the potential for nonhuman interiority,” said Kite.

The concepts present in her work are an extension of her academic field of study, on which she recently finished her dissertation, explained Kite.

“In Lakota philosophy, there are really clear concepts of how we can have relationships with nonhuman beings, and a lot of them are stones,” she said. “My research applies the processes of making relationships with stones to the potential for future relationships with materials that are in AI or that are in computational systems. So I think thinking about computational systems is just melted stones.”

Kite and her fellow artists haven’t yet been able to make it to Marfa to view the gallery — travel logistics make it difficult to get everyone in one place, explained the Galindos — but the couple hopes artists on display in the space will be able to make the trip in the future.

The Galindos plan on hosting three shows a year in the space — the next will take place over the summer, then another will take place in the fall until the end of the year. As for the space itself, they hope to turn the currently vacant rear of the gallery into a studio.