After a quick flight from Los Angeles and an eight-hour road trip we recently found ourselves in Marfa, Texas. Marfa is small city (around 2,000 people) in western Texas and is a mecca for any minimalist enthusiast.
Upon arrival we visited the Chinati Foundation – a contemporary art museum in Marfa based upon the ideas of its founder, Donald Judd. After our first hour in the city we began to understand why Judd would select such a place – an obvious escape from the pace of New York. We also embrace the idea of art placed with such precision and outward simplicity from within the emptiness and structural dilapidation found in the high desert, which must have been irresistible for the artist.
Judd’s fifteen concrete works are the first thing we came across. The scale of his work that runs along the boarder of Chinati’s property is impressive. The attention to detail that Judd put into the placement of his work is inspiring. All of the work shares the same repetitive footprint with uniqueness shown through the use of walls. Other highlights within the museum are Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum (unfortunately no photos were allowed), and it was there we found the same attention to detail and an incredible display of precise execution with Judd’s signature method of working within design constraints. The way the light hit the aluminum almost created a translucent effect on the boxes.
Some of our other favorites included Carl Andre and Ingólfur Arnarsson. In addition Dan Flavin’s untitled work was incredible (it took him almost 20 years to finish it). When we walked into the first room were transfixed on the glow that emanated from hidden eight foot neon lights. We also noticed the intelligent use of angles throughout the rooms and corridors, which gave off a feeling being drawn into the light. Subtle details including paneling of the walls and the floor throughout the room suggested that no space was left without consideration.
Finally on our way out of Marfa we stopped by the impressive Prada Marfa, a permanent installation by the artist, Elmgreen & Dragset . We felt it was a great juxtaposition to the emptiness and disrepair, a strange allure in the middle of the desert.