ART IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE: MARFA, TEXAS

Well, on the second day of the Texas road showlas tres amigas, AKA Gail, Mady & Kate, (see post) were off and running early in the morning in order to get to Marfa, Texas and have as much time as possible to tool around and visit the sights. After all, Marfa was

the reason that brought us out to the wild west and we needed to get the full flavor of the place before moving on.

 

Donald Judd's Cement Boxes at the Chinati Foundation

Donald Judd’s Cement Boxes at the Chinati Foundation

 

For those of you you still unfamiliar with Marfa, it is somewhat of a phenomenon of an art community that developed as a result of the noted sculptor, Donald Judd, deciding to live there way back in the 1970’s. Marfa is located in the southwest corner of Texas in the high desert area and Judd was attracted to it  as a place to display his large art installations.  He ended up  purchasing numerous properties in the town and developed the Chinati Foundation, where he would be able to display not only his work but that of other artists also creating art too large to display in museums.

 

Donald Judd's Aluminum Boxes Installation at The Chinate Foundation

Donald Judd’s  100 untitled works in mill alluminum , 1982-1986 at the Chinate Foundation

 

We had signed up for  a two hour tour of The Chinati Foundation, which is a contemporary museum housed in an old army installation, featuring primarily the work of Judd and the artist…and friend of Judd’s…Dan Flavin.  It was super fascinating and simply walking around and through the areas where the art is housed was, I must admit, rather awesome.

 

Dan Flavin light installation at the Chinati Foundation

Dan Flavin untitled light installation at the Chinati Foundation

 

We also had the opportunity to see the work of John Chamberlain, another friend and contemporary of Judd’s, who’s large metal sculptures made out of used car parts were on display at a Chinati Foundation building in town. The last stop on the tour took us to a huge warehouse, where a rather clever video installation by the artist,  Zoe Leonard, called “100 North Nevill Street” caught us really off guard and we all had to admit it was totally mesmerizing.

 

Metal sculptures made our of old car parts by John Chamberlain

Metal sculptures made out of old car parts by John Chamberlain

 

After our breakfast of art, we headed immediately to the Pizza Foundation…ha, ha, but true name…for some Italian vittles, and then toured the rest of the town.  Marfa is filled with other art galleries and lovely small shops and wonderful restaurants.  One of the more notable places was Ballroom, Marfa, another contemporary art space that was originally an actual ballroom but now houses a wide range of visual arts and performances.

 

Ballroom, Marfa

Ballroom Marfa

 

The place to stay in Marfa is at the old Paisano Hotel, who’s claim to fame is that Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson…as well as the rest of the cast and crew… stayed there when they filmed the movie “Giant” in 1956.  You can still rent the Rock Hudson Suite or the Elizabeth Taylor Suite if you so choose!  The place is charming and designed  in classic Tex-Mex style, including  a huge buffalo head hanging on the wall of the lobby.

 

Paisano Hotel, Marfa TX

Paisano Hotel, Marfa TX

 

There are funkier places to stay, like El Cosmico, where you can spend the night either in  an old Air Stream or tent, but that just didn’t do it for these three ladies.  Although we are all young at heart, we just need a certain level of creature comforts at this point in life, i.e., external plumbing facilities just doesn’t do it for us!

 

El Cosmico, Marfa,TX

El Cosmico, Marfa,TX

 

After hitting all sorts of charming boutique-y stores…purchased a vintage Diane Von Furstenburg jumpsuit!…we strolled over to Maiya’s for some Texas cocktails.  Well not exactly, but I had an expresso martini which I have only seen offered in St Barth’s (see post.)

 

Las Tres Amigas cocktailing it up at Maiya's in Marfa, TX

Las Tres Amigas cocktailing it up at Maiya’s in Marfa, TX

 

Dinner was at a wonderful restaurant called Cochineal, which happened to be owned by the owners of the former New York two star restaurant , Etats Unis.  The food is simply divine, and you mustn’t miss the date pudding for dessert.  Once again, we marveled at finding such wonderful eats in the middle of nowhere. AH, but , then again, we are in Marfa, Texas, a place all onto it’s own.

 

Outdoor dining at Cochineal  restaurant, Marfa, TX

Outdoor dining at Cochineal restaurant, Marfa, TX

 

Time did not permit us to take the 37 mile drive to Valentine, Texas to see “Prada Marfa,” the art installation done by Elmgreen and Gradset, which has garnered so much publicity and news since it was erected in 2005, as well as it’s share of vandalism. Apparently, Marfa-ites have a love/hate relationship with the installation, but every visitor who stops by to look at it can’t resist taking a photograph of themselves in front of it.

 

Prada Marfa

Prada Marfa

 

Okie doke, we have done the Marfa-deed, our main reason for heading to Texas.   Oh, and by the way, we did not see the “Marfa  Mystery Lights,” although, they are a big deal in Marfa, with their own annual festival  and many coming from near and far to see them. I am sorry to say you will have to include them on your visit to Marfa if you want the nitty-gritty on them.

 

Marfa. TX

Marfa. TX

 

Now we are off to our last, and most beautiful stop on this road trip, the Cibolo Ranch.  Tune in for my next post about this fantastic place to chill out and enjoy what I think is Texas at it’s best.

 

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 Ciao, ciao ’til next time!