I first learned of Marfa, Texas from conversations with my friend, Matt Olson, a musician and dreamer who in recent years has developed a company in Minneapolis for landscape design called rosenlof/lucas. He described this amazing little town in West Texas where Donald Judd lived and worked since the 1970's and ultimately founded the Chinati Foundation.
The Chinati Foundation is located on the site of a former military headquarters known as Fort D.A. Russell or Camp Marfa. In 1979, with initial support from the Dia Art Foundation, Judd converted these artillery sheds and army barracks into a contemporary art museum to preserve large-scale sculptural installations by minimalist artists including Dan Flavin, John Chamberlain, Roni Horn and Claes Oldenburg.
The Chinati Foundation now attracts thousands of visitors to Marfa each year and draws international artists to its Artist-in-Residence program. Scenes from a number of films have also been shot in and near Marfa, such as Giant starring James Dean, and more recently, both No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.
A few days before Christmas, I drove across the desert from Austin to Marfa and spent a night in a room at the Thunderbird, an astonishingly sexy hotel influenced by Donald Judd's minimalist vision. I shot photographs in the area on film which I hope to look at later this month, but also took some digital snapshots at the Chinati Foundation for instant gratification and to share with Matt and anyone who might check into this blog ... thank you for looking and happy new year.