I recently traveled with my mom on an art pilgrimage through parts of Texas. We started in the southwestern town of Marfa, home of Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation which boasts some amazing works by Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and Roni Horn, to name a few. The majority of the works are experiential contextualized in military barracks with views of the western plains encouraging one to walk through or around the piece(s). The Chinati Foundation hosts their annual weekend in October, when the town's small population of two thousand people doubles and every art gallery is buzzing. My favorite being Zipora Fried at Marfa Contemporary whose work can also be seen at On Stellar Rays in New York City.
Noteworthy things to do in Marfa:
- Stay at the Thunderbird Hotel or rent a home on vrbo
- Marfa is in the process of building a large hotel, Hotel Saint George, boasting an olympic size pool
- Dine at Cochineal. Their mezcal Manhattan was smooth to the taste, as was their pureed beet soup and seared salmon.
- Lunch at Le Capri. For a quick bite try Food Shark. I recommend their fatoush salad or pita. Unfortunately it was a cold and rainy day, so we dined in their converted school bus! Their second venue offers late night gourmet grilled cheese on Friday and Saturday nights
- Morning coffee or a fresh pressed juice at Tumbleweed Laundry.
- Tour Donald Judd's private home/compound. Check out the library.
After Marfa we made our way to the bright lights and big city of Dallas, certainly a contrast to the single blinking traffic light small town of Marfa. My top picks were the Nasher Sculpture Center designed by the acclaimed Renzo Piano. The building, collection and grounds are all noteworthy.
I fell in love with Giuseppe Penone work currently on exhibit. In one piece, he connects both visually and metaphorically man's finger prints to the rings on a tree trunk, "the skin on our body delineates our physical identity; it is the point of separation between us and the outside world. When we touch things around us... we leave an infinite number of finger prints and marks from our skin on everything around us... our skin will carry the image of the universe." Much like fingerprints, a tree's trunk are a means of identifying the life of a tree- it's age, growth and environmental factors.
I was also very intrigued by Piero Golia's re-installation of Chalet Hollywood with it's blue Venetian plaster walls, raw wood beams, metallic printed pillows, and Pierre Huyghe's acquarium, whose work I had seen early this summer on the MET's rooftop. Nestled in the corner, dressed in white, surrounded by little spiritual knick knacks was Maneesh Madahar (an LA transplant hired just for this Dallas exhibition) with a sign "I AM HEAR FOR YOU I WILL LISTEN TO YOU"- of course I felt obliged to participate!!
Other things to do in Dallas:
- Northpark Mall which exhibits some of the Nasher family's personal collection.
- See the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava, while not as moving as Punta de la Muyer in Buenos Aires, is a nice vista nonetheless.
- Shop at Forty Five Ten- a mini Barney's with noteworthy designers. They are expanding to larger downtown location that will quadruple their current size.
- Dine at FT-33 serving seasonal farm to table, tasty, lively and fun presentation. Great to sit at chef's counter and watch the kitchen plate dishes.
Museum of Modern Art designed by Tadao Ando, is spectacular as is the collection of art. Their current exhibition of Kehinde Wiley's work correlates well to the John Singer Sargent exhibition at the MET.
Amon Carter is just up the block from the Kimbell. That Day, the current exhibition of photographs and written narratives by Laura Wilson was profoundly moving, She's a modern day Dorothea Lange and mother of Luke and Owen Wilson!!