You can really see the landscape change as you drive west from Austin. It’s super green and lush in Austin and as you drive west through hill country, it starts looking like a green desert and then my the time you get near Marfa, it feels like the desert in the southwest. You know when you fly somewhere, your environment abruptly changes but as we approach the last month of our trip, I think as we drive into a familiar landscape, it’s easing our way home.
So I’ve always wanted to visit Marfa so I was pretty happy to be here. Surprisingly the weather is cooler here and much drier. As you walk around the small town, it’s a mix of cool modern buildings and older homes. There are a lot of art galleries, restaurants, shops, hotels and guest houses here. It’s like a mix of New York and LA here- very odd for this desert town in the middle of nowhere- and for some reason, so many French people. We walked around, ate burritos, … Later that evening we drove to Prada Marfa and there was a dude there filming his personal music video. I think the appeal of art in the desert is that the emptiness of it all hilights something as random as a storefront. The drive out there is really beautiful- especially at sunset.
The next day we went around the Chinati Foundation- the art complex started by Donald Judd. That was fun. The site used to be army barracks during WWI and WWII and now the buildings house installations and other art by Judd, Dan Flavin and lots of other folks that Judd liked. The Dan Flavin rooms were my favorite- especially after seeing the Turrell skyspace in Austin.
That evening we went a few miles outside of town to view what people call the “Marfa Lights.” A bunch of people gathered around dusk and then started pointing out these lights in the hills. They were so amazed by these lights saying things like: look how they dance with each other. Honestly I think they were car headlights and a radio tower. It wasn’t a big deal but it was a great spot to stare at the stars in the sky and see the sunrise the next morning.