Marfa: The lightness and drollness of being

Donald Judd’s aluminum boxes, Chinati Foundation

Marfa.  
Its name precedes it as an art-oasis in the Chihuahuan Texan desert. 
It has a certain droll quality – and might suggest such drollness is part of its very nature. One can’t help but wonder, “What the hell are we doing here?”
Donald Judd, the mastermind who purchased the former Fort D.A. Russell, with Dia Foundation, and installed 100 of his milled aluminum cubes of varying angles, might have relished the question. His answer, dry, droll, might be his very gesture of art. Self-referential, but here I am, in all my glory. It is what it is. Better than in a museum, leaning into the sparse empty desert where somehow, the human wants to put his mark, his query, the unfoldings of his mind. When I suggested to a guide, a lanky silver-bearded dude, that Judd had transformed violence of artillery sheds into art, the guide jumped quickly to deny intention: “Oh no! He wouldn’t have done that. The fort was cheap!”
Equally, Dan Flavin, whose magnificent aura of flourescent tubes fills dank barracks, gave simple instructions on how to interpret his work: Don’t. it is what it is. Easy in, easy out. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t imagine artists are acting as missionaries bringing the good (art) word to the land of pickup-trucks, Native and Latino and LBJ and Glenn Campbell.
Or that they want anyone to be mystical even though the desert is open, and gorgeous, with a certain induction to metaphysical thought. The self-referential art culture that has grown around such an ambitious project will eventually lean outward, beyond itself, if you let it.

The inimitable Pizza Foundation
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *