The kind folks at the Chinati Foundation have had a technical hitch today and so have been unable to send their planned contribution on Marfa, Texas.  In the absence of their insider's knowledge, let me weigh in with just a few thoughts on Marfa.
Marfa is both a true destination and quite literally not near anything.  Unless one has access to a private plane, there are no easy ways to get to there.  Travelers must either fly into El Paso and then drive east for three hours or fly into Midland and drive southwest for three hours. It has a population of less than 2000 people, few accommodations, restaurants or other amenities.  After relative boom years as first a railroad town then as the site of an airbase during World War II, its population ‘stalled in the later half of the 20th century’.  How is this different than a 1000, 10,000 --or maybe even 100,000--towns scattered across the country?
Any answer has to start with the art and the art starts with minimalist sculptor Donald Judd.  In the early 1970’s, Judd, bought two then derelict airfield hangars.  Other artists began to follow and continue to do so to this day and in ever-increasing numbers.  Even so, it is still largely a town that Judd found and nurtured.  Both the Chinati and Judd Foundations support his legacy and display his work.  
I find myself still somewhat baffled, however, when it comes to explaining the draw of such an out of the way place.  The power of the art is undeniable.  The grandeur and monumental qualities of both landscape and sculpture do seem to be fashioned to exist together.  Even so art--including Judd's art--can be seen in many, many other places. Yet the draw is undeniable.  Marfa has become a powerful cultural magnet over the last few decades.  My guess is it has an appeal so profoundly it's own that it cannot be imagined in the absence of a visit.
If your appetite has been whetted for this particular brand of Western adventure then we hope you will come along this fall when Nancy Doll,  Weatherspoon Art Museum Director, offers a rare opportunity for a guided visit to Marfa, October 28th to 30th.  Following this optional stop, we'll spend four days in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, October 30th to November 2nd.  If it's easy to make the case that Marfa has the highest art to population ratio in the world---then it seems equally true that Dallas/Ft Worth has the corner on world-class private collections and museums.  Our time in Dallas/Ft Worth area will focus on these very special collections and museums including The Warehouse, the Dallas Art Museum, Museum of Ft. Worth, Nasher Sculpture Garden and Amon Carter Museum.


To ensure your place, please make a deposit of $250. $350 with the Marfa add-on.  


The trip is limited to 20 people.