On the fourth day of the adventure we went to Marfa, Texas. My friends from college, David and Suzy, had booked a tour of the Chinati Foundation. No photos of that because none allowed. This foundation is the dream of its founder, Donald Judd. His art and almost all the rest of the art housed here is not for display in houses. All but a few consist of grand studies of space and light. An abandoned, refurbished military base, purchased by Judd, houses most of the exhibits. Judd’s main interest it seems relates to the relationship between light and space. First, the tour guide takes you to a couple of large buildings where the only changes made were to install new windows and a ceiling. These buildings house Judd’s large, polished, stainless steel rectangular boxes. While this may sound boring, I assure you it is not. Light reflects off these boxes, makes shadows, etc. in all sorts of ways and the entire effect changes with the angles of the sunlight.
Another quite astonishing display can be seen in a series of U-shaped buildings, painted and repaired, in which eight foot long fluorescent light tubes in four colors, pink, green, yellow, and blue, have been installed in the corners of the U. Depending on where a person stands, other colors appear, not just the four mentioned. It became apparent to me that the artist, Dan Flavin, knew every scientific detail of the color spectrum and its effects on the human eye and brain.
I also enjoyed a smaller display by artist and poet, Carl Andre. Even though his fame rests in sculpture, it is mainly his poetry displayed here. I wanted to read all of it but everyone else went on so I quit.
There are other exhibits, including a lot of smashed and welded vehicles which I liked the least. The final exhibit displays giant fabric sheets in black and white in a building specially designed by the artist, Robert Irwin. If you think this sounds boring, take a trip there and look for yourself. I assure you it is not. Irwin actually worked on the exhibit himself at the age of 88. He lives on now at 89.
The only photos I managed in the area show the Marfa Courthouse which is, believe it or not, even a brighter pink than this photo and a photo from the vehicle window on the highway to Alpine. The second photo shows a mesa we managed to view on one day or another from nearly all sides. It looms large in the middle of flat land. Here one of the endless trains slides by.
On our last day we decided to drive to Presidio and take the river road which goes through Rio Grande Ranch State Park. While the road goes either along or down to the river in a few places (for people to put some sort of water craft into the river or to camp), most of it is way above the river on cliffs. This landscape is not for the faint of heart.
US on the right and Mexico on the left. The fields and pasture in the distance are in Mexico.
Looking into Mexico.
Unusual rock formations near one of the small drives down to a campground by the river.
Cliffs in Mexico.
Apparently, in my efforts not to fall in the river while taking this, my finger got in the way.
Yes, the river is down there between those cliffs.
In case you wonder why the Rio Grande seems so small here, consider that by the time it gets here, 95% of the water has been removed for irrigation and other purposes.
We drove back through Terlingua to Alpine. Not much exists in Terlingua except a rather pathetic supposed ghost town area. The river road is not conducive to speed; we were hungry and stopped for a very late lunch. It was St. Patrick’s Day and many of the clientele had a good start on the festivities. On Saturday I learned that Terlingua is a famous biker town. However, apparently not that day.