Marfa, Texas: A Travel Guide to America’s Coolest Art Town


Marfa Ballroom

Ballroom Marfa is a contemporary museum with a constantly rotating program of exhibitions: each time you go there, you will discover a different show by a different working artist, such as “Kite Symphony” by Roberto Carlos Lange and Kristi Sword, which takes place on the site until May. They also commission site-specific work, such as stone circle (2018) by Haroon Mirza, inspired by prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, and helped bring “Prada Marfa” and “Giant” to life, but more on those later.

Chinati Foundation

There’s one must-visit in Marfa, and it was the Chinati Foundation, the minimalist art museum founded by Donald Judd that catapulted this small Texas town into the national spotlight. Stroll through Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works, made of aluminum, housed in former military camp buildings, or marvel at the neon lights of Dan Flavin’s site-specific installations. For art newbies, book a guided tour and, most importantly, stay a while.

Judd Foundation

Although much of Judd’s work resides at the Chinati Foundation, his residence in the city allows you to dig deeper into the understanding of the artist. Discover everything from his vast collection of books – he read for hours every day – to his studio or even his kitchen. Each room, perfectly preserved since its last visit in the 1990s, gives the impression that Judd could enter at any time.

“Prada Marfa” by Elmgreen & Dragset

The Instagram reputation of “Prada Marfa” probably precedes it. (It will happen when Beyoncé uses you as a backdrop for one of her Instagram snaps.) Still, Elmgreen & Dragset’s site-specific art installation, backed by the Art Production Fund and Ballroom Marfa, still deserves a shoutout. visit. It’s absurd in nature: the “store” is on a remote ranch, the door doesn’t open, and the objects of desire (shoes and handbags from a 2005 Prada collection) are frozen inside. forever, unbuyable. Is it a comment, a monument or a critique of capitalism? Well, that’s up to you.

“Giant” by John Cerney

In 1956, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean descended on Marfa to film the epic western Giant about a Texas ranch family during the rise of big oil. Nearly 60 years later, artist John Cerney has erected huge plywood cutouts of Old Hollywood stars and placed them on the side of Highway 90 near where the historically significant film was shot .

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Photo: By Elise Taylor

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