mm mm MARFA

Added on by Jourdan.
I spent this past weekend in one of the most interesting of places... Marfa, TX.
Back in January, my professor, Jarod Charzewski and I applied for a CofC SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty) grant. Despite the mounds of paperwork we knew it would entail we simply thought... why not? Our proposal was for what we called a "Collaborative Sculpture Project with Investigation into Minimalism." Both of us work within a fairly minimalist aesthetic, so we thought this a good ground upon which to collaborate. Oh yea... and we got the grant.

Though we spent several weeks pouring over books and vintage art magazine articles on the subject, we knew we couldn't properly "investigate" minimalism without visiting the "hub" of American minimalism itself... Marfa, TX. Back in the 1970's, artist and art critic Donald Judd moved out to west Texas. As Thoreau went to the woods, Judd went to the desert... to live deliberately. He wished to create spaces where his work (along with the work of several buddies among the likes of Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain) could be viewed as it was designed to be viewed... a place where the gap between art, architecture and landscape would be bridged... the result was the Chinati Foundation.

Judd said of Chinati...
"It takes a great deal of time and thought to install work carefully. This should not always be thrown away. Most art is fragile and some should be placed and never moved again. Somewhere a portion of contemporary art has to exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be. Somewhere, just as the platinum iridium meter guarantees the tape measure, a strict measure must exist for the art of this time and place."

Judd's aluminum boxes are a perfect example of this notion....

(fantastic photos by Jennifer Charzewski)

I should note that, though I had seen countless pictures in books and online of these "boxes," not until I experienced them in person did I realize what they really were. I was blown away by the fact that I previously had absolutely no idea that they weren't solid cubes. On the exterior, each of the 100 boxes is identical, but the interior of each is entirely unique. And the effect is utterly magnificent... as seen above. The object is only one element in the work as a whole. The architecture and landscape are absolutely critical. The piece simply couldn't exist without them.

And so, to Marfa we went... it was quite the pilgrimage and I believe I'm all the wiser for it (or something like that?) Well... I learned a lot. I saw a lot of great work. Ate a lot of yummy tacos. Met up with a pretty cool dude from Philly. Got a taste of west Texas. And though I could ramble on Marfa for pages and pages, about the breathtaking landscape, the expanse of the starry night sky, the awesome/weirdo Judd estate/kingdom, the absurd amount of hipsters, the blah blah blah.... it's time (literally) for me to get to working on this "collaborative sculpture project" of ours. We've got some neat things in the works... stay tuned...

(Steve experiencing some Dan Flavin)