Visiting Marfa

Looking for an unlikely, high art meets high desert location? There is only one place to come: Marfa Texas.

Marfa, situated on a high plateau of the Chihuahuan Desert between three mountain ranges, can claim only 2000 permanent residents. However, many people have seen this little West Texas town, even without realizing it. Marfa was the film location for several big movies in the past. Namely, “Giant,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson. Also, the more recent films “No Country For Old Men” and “There Will be Blood” were filmed in Marfa.

In the last decade, Marfa has become a modern art hot spot. The renaissance brought about by internationally acclaimed artist Donald Judd and the cultural nonprofit foundations which followed him have also attracted a score of quality art galleries.

A main draw for art lovers visiting Marfa: the Prada Marfa installation.  Created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset in 2005. The artists referred to their installation as a “pop architectural land art project.”  A highlight of the piece are two windows that showcase Prada shoes and handbags that were handpicked by Miuccia Prada.

A main draw for art lovers visiting Marfa: the Prada Marfa installation. Created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset in 2005. The artists referred to their installation as a “pop architectural land art project.” A highlight of the piece are two windows that showcase Prada shoes and handbags that were handpicked by Miuccia Prada.

They exhibit predominantly contemporary talent, both regional and imported, in media including painting, photography, ceramics, and sculpture/installation art.

Donald Judd in Marfa

Artist Donald Judd was drawn to the open, luminous space of the landscape as well as Marfa’s rural agricultural, industrial, and military architectural forms. After his death in 1994, two nonprofit arts organizations were created, the Chinati Foundation and the Judd Foundation.

This set the stage for other nonprofit arts organizations to coalesce here: The Lannan Foundation (literature), Ballroom Marfa (eclectic contemporary culture, including music, visual, and performance arts), the Goode-Crowley Theatre and Marfa Live Arts and the International Women’s Foundation.

The Marfa Lights

Along with these very modern attractions, there is an old mystery that draws the curious to this part of the high desert: the Marfa Lights. Marfa’s “Mystery Ghost Lights” were first documented by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. There are many theories about the source of these curious lights: Swamp gas, phosphorescent mineral displays, ball lightning, UFO’s, secret chemicals left by the US Army, and spirits of Apache ancestors have all been proposed. Whatever their cause, these playful lights above Mitchell Flat stimulate our imagination and beckon us to adventure.

Lodging for West Texas Travels

Whether attending an art opening in Marfa, or stopping to watch the Marfa lights on your way to Big Bend, we have bed and breakfasts in the area for comfortable and hospitable lodging. See you in the desert!

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