I’m so excited to introduce you to some amazing people.
To start with, if you haven’t heard about Marfa, TX, I get that. It’s three hours from the nearest airport and to get here, you have to seriously make an effort.
If you are an artist or an art historian, you are likely to have heard of Marfa. “In 1979, with help from the Dia Art Foundation, Donald Judd purchased a 340 acre tract of desert land near Marfa, which included the abandoned buildings of the former U.S. Army Fort D. A. Russell. The Chinati Foundation opened on the site in 1986 as a non-profit art foundation, dedicated to Judd and his contemporaries.” (Wikipedia.)
Yesterday, I called over to see if there was any room in one of their guided tours. “Yep. We have one spot left at 12:30!”
“I guess that’s for me!”
I went for a bike ride early and left for the Chinati site
at…oh around 12:20. (Everything here is THAT close.)
I arrived at the visitor’s station. There were a number of folks milling around three display tables. On the tables were books on everything from the history of Marfa to the biographies of the artists featured here.
The guided tour is at least four hours in length. I figured I might as well, introduce myself to some of the other folks on the tour.
I walked up to a young woman nearby.
“Are you on the guided tour at 12:30?” I asked.
We chit chat, friendly-like, skim the surface. Dee is a photographer from New York. She’s working on a project here.
Andrea walks up and joins in. Andrea is traveling by car, with her dog, from New York to L.A.. The company she works for, also has an L.A. office.
Shortly, we meet up with Adam and Jen. They live in Venice, California.
We know each other’s names and that’s about it.
The tour begins with some background on Chinati. John is a retired photographer, lives in Alpine (a slightly bigger town about thirty minutes away).
The Chinati Tour was extraordinary. If you ever come to Marfa, please promise you will go on it. Donald Judd was very clear about the use of space and light as an integrative part of his work and so, too, were/are all the other artists featured here.
At one point, I found myself lost in space and time. I couldn’t tell whether what I was looking at was a reflection or the real thing.
But for me, the best part of the whole experience was getting to know my fellow tour-mates. 🙂
Four and half hours is a long time to walk across acres and acres of Texas landscape, while also experiencing a variety of spirit and thought provoking pieces of art. Slowly, we began to reveal parts of ourselves.
Dee is also known as Driely Schwartz, Driely Carter and Driely S. She is at age 29, a renowned and much-sought-after photographer. You can see some of her work here. http://drielys.com/india-pharrell-williams.
She was back in Marfa, tying up some loose ends for a video/photo shoot for Deerhunter, a rock band out of Atlanta.
As we walked along, she shared how a couple of days ago, she was pulled over by local enforcement officers. Driely is Brazilian. She was by the side of the road with a large camera and a pop-up dark room, working on some artistic photography. They questioned her for an hour.
“It’s crazy. It makes it hard to do the work I came here to do.”
The six of us talked for a while about what’s happening in America. I offered to accompany her if she would feel safer and more productive with me along. “A white woman with a Volvo and a southern accent. Perfect.” we all laughed about that and at the same time felt pissed. We will see if she takes me up on the offer. 😳
Later at dinner, Andrea shared more about her work in the world. Now 33 years old, in her late 20’s, she launched, hosted and produced one of the most popular podcast in the states. The name of it? “Why Oh Why.” (http://www.whyohwhyradio.com/about/)
She has taken a break from the dating podcast to host a much-loved-and-listened-to family podcast, https://longestshortesttime.com/.
Adam Goldstein and Jen Weinberg, were on a break from their busy lives in Venice, California. Jen is the vice president of talent relations and special events at 20th Century Fox Television. She met Adam through mutual friends. Adam is one of three partners in his interior design firm, http://www.studio-collective.com.
Dinner was at LaVenture in the St. George Hotel in “downtown” Marfa. I will admit it was completely surreal to be sitting in the middle of nowhere desert, enjoying dinner, incredibly provocative conversation with such radiant and ALIVE human beings.
The cool part? We started our friendship by experiencing art together. I’m back again to that power of being present. We had no knowledge of the before-we-met, no expectation, no stories written. We were just some people walking through the desert, experiencing art.
I think that says something about the power of art. Marfa, too.