Originally published 13 February, 2014
Bill at the Chinati Foundation picking Laurie up after her tour!
Today was a bit of a free form day. Laurie went to the Chinati Foundation and went on a guided tour of the art installations. I'll let her tell you what she thought of it.....but suffice to say, she liked it very much. I got a chance to wander a bit and do some film photography!
El Cosmico-Time warp of old campers
I started out by dropping Laurie off for her tour. I went straight to the coffee shop and got a latte. I started talking to a kid in there (he was 25, not really a kid...but when they're the age of my kids....they're a kid) who was traveling and staying in a tent. He was from New York state and was a nice guy....his name was Collin. He was staying at a place called El Cosmico. It's not really a campground.....it's the place I may have mentioned with the Teepees and old trailers. I have pics of it today. You can stay in old 50's era trailers or teepees.....it's kinda funky and unusual.
I set up and shot the grain elevator. I thought it was a good pic against a rabidly blue sky...which is common here. Film work, especially medium format work like I play with, is not point and shoot. There's set up, framing, hand held light metering, tripods, etc. A big day shooting medium format is maybe 8 shots.....and I can burn a couple of hours doing it. I did my shots, and decided that I would prowl about town a bit before I had to pick Laurie up.
I learned a couple of things about Marfa. One is, the town is not what you see......it's the stuff they pack in the cracks. There are places that look closed that aren't. There are places that say they are open, and aren't. It sometimes feels like the whole town is just a random occurrence. Be aware that posted hours and days don't seem to mean much around here, but we're assured that everything is open on the weekend....when we're going to be gone.
I picked Laurie up and stopped by one of the stores I found. It was a cool hippie/health food market that I thought she'd like. It was called "The Get Go". They had all the cool hippie foods that she and Heather love. The prices, however, were a bit on the steep side. We discussed the possibility of going to the local bank and taking out a loan to buy a box of cereal. We passed....and headed to find a lunch place.
After this, Laurie wanted to walk the outside grounds at the Chinati foundation, and I walked with her for a bit. It is on an old army base, that used to be a cavalry base...and I don't mean air cav.....I mean chasing Pancho Villa on horses cavalry. It was also used during WW II. There were old watering troughs for the cavalry horses still there. A lot of the barracks and buildings are still there and used by the artists and such. Laurie will talk about those in her comments. I liked the old base......I like exploring things from the past. I told Laurie that I liked the place because, due to my life's work and lifelong study of history, I understood the buildings and their history. She understands the art they contain.
We left after exploring and rode to Fort Davis, TX, just in time for everything to close. It was a nice ride though and we enjoyed the scenery. We returned to the motor home and had dinner.....and planned our next move. Tomorrow is moving day...and we're headed further west. Next stop......New Mexico!
Quote of the day:
"Some cities, like wrapped boxes under Christmas trees, conceal unexpected gifts, secret delights. Some cities will always remain wrapped boxes, containers of riddles never to be solved, nor even to be seen by vacationing visitors, or, for that matter, the most inquisitive, persistent travelers." -Truman Capote
Song of the day: Tumbling Tumbleweeds-Sons of the Pioneers
Base buildings now used as offices for the foundation
And now.....Laurie's report on the Chinati Foundation
So............today I went to the Chinati foundation and did their short tour. This consisted of the works of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain. Donald Judd started the Chinati Foundation with his own money and Dia foundation money. There are 12 artists installations in all. Apparently they haven't added any more artists for the 12 years since Judd died, because the board hasn't found anyone they feel lives up to the ones there. Seems a little snooty but the art world can be like that. Also the whole thing is only really available by guided tours which can be pricey. For $100 you can go at sunset or sunrise. Staff, interns and maybe foundation members have more access. It is also only open Wed -Sun for 4 hours. But, it was worth the trip for me and I would recommend it.
The outside cubes are impressive in their size and relation to each other. They depend on shadows to create their forms. I would love to have been able to come back to see all these pieces at different times of the day. Its an installation that would change every time you go. Flavin used florescent lights to create positive and negative space rather than form. His installation moves you through 6 separate buildings that were once barracks. The installations are at the end of the building so you walk toward his lights and the experience changes as you approach. Turning to walk away you look at natural light which is somewhat of a relief after the artificial colors he created. Again, as the light changes throughout the day, the environment would change.
Concrete exterior installation
I didn't relate to this installation as much as Judd's but is was impressive. The last installation was in town, not on the Chinati grounds. John Chamberlain created huge sculptures out of crushed automobiles. They look like they would be fun to make, and don't resemble autos at all until a head light or something recognizable jumps into view. This was the last installation on the tour and was kind of hard to take in after the others.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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