Informations about Marfa, Texas
The town of Marfa
is the seat of Presidio County, in the desert of West Texas. Now boasting a population of 2,000, the town was founded in the early 1880's as a railroad water stop for the new Union Pacific Railroad line from Houston to Los Angeles, via El Paso and Phoenix.
Marfa grew quickly through the 1920's. Marfa Army Airfield was located east of the town during World War II and trained several thousand pilots before closing in 1945.
Like many other towns in the American Southwest, Marfa fell out of favor after WWII but was revived in the 1970's when minimalist artist Donald Clarence Judd moved there from New York City.
Today Marfa is a tourist destination, located near the Davis Mountains, and stands as a gateway to Big Bend National Park. Its attractions, including breathtaking landscapes and typical West Texas architecture, have drawn visitors and cinema crews from around the world. Movies shot on location include No Country for Old Men by the Cohen Brothers and There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson. Marfa is also known internationally for being home to the Minimalist Art collections of the Judd and Chinati foundations.
Donald C. Judd and Marfa
In the early 1970's, Donald C. Judd started making annual trips with his family to Baja California, Mexico. His strong attachment to the sparse desertscape would remain with him for the rest of his life.
In 1971, he rented a house in Marfa, as an antidote to the hectic New York art world. From there he would later buy and restore several buildings in the downtown area as well as a nearby ranch, which he turned into his home. He moved to Marfa permanently in 1972.
In 1979, with support from the DIA Art Foundation in New York, Judd acquired the abandoned Army Fort D.A. Russell, home to a cavalry regiment during the Mexican Revolution. In two large hangars and some smaller buildings he began to permanently install his art and that of his friends, Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain. In the early 1980's, Judd threatened a lawsuit, contending the DIA Foundation had reneged on some provisions of a contract. As a way to avert the threatened lawsuit, an agreement was reached, leading to the creation of the Chinati Foundation, which opened to the public in 1986.
Donald C. Judd died in 1994. Today his legacy in Marfa is cared for by the Judd and Chinati foundations.