February 16, 2010
We hiked around a bit in the Davis Mountains and had dinner at the Limpia Hotel Resturant. In the evening we attended the Star Party at the MacDonald Observatory. It was a cold night but it was really informative. First there is a night sky show followed by the opportunity to see different costellations in the Observatory telescopes.
February 17, 2010
We traveled onto to Marfa and then Alpine (where we spent the night). In 1971, Donald Judd, minimalist artist, moved to Marfa from New York City. He bought two large hangars, some smaller buildings and started to permanently install his art. Judd's vision was to house large collections of individual artists' work on permanent display, as a sort of anti-museum. Judd believed that the prevailing model of a museum, where art is shown for short periods of time, does not allow the viewer an understanding of the artist or their work as they intended.
Since Judd's death in 1994, two foundations have been working to maintain his legacy: the Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation. Every year The Chinati Foundation holds an Open House event where artists, collectors, and enthusiasts come from around the world to see art.
In Marfa we went on the Chinati Foundation tour of Donald Judd’s work and compound. The buildings that Judd remodeled to stage his work were very impressive. But honestly, Judd’s obsessive box pieces are mind numbing to me. I do appreciate them a bit more now that I have seen the works at Marfa but nonetheless I am not really moved by it. The town of Marfa is full of young ultra-hipsters artists types whom seemed too chic and imported. A man wearing a cowboy hat who was an actual native tipped his hat to me, exchanged pleasantries, thank goodness.
In Alpine we stayed at the Alpine Lofts which were really beautifully decorated in Texas downhome style, very comfortable with loads of creature comforts. Alpine was quite different from Marfa, more authentic small town feel. We drove around to see some sights, the base ball field, the University, etc. Then we walked around the downtown, nice.
February 18 and 19, 2010
Big Bend National Park.
The first day we drove through the park checking out the different sites. Visited one canyon, stopped at the Rio Grande River, took pictures. The place is huge. We were told at the gate not to buy souvenirs from the Mexican natives who come across the river to sell items. Along many of the various pathways to sites there are items placed with simple signs listing prices of items and a jar for cash. I didn’t buy anything and I now regret not putting money in the jars. Locals talked about how the Mexican villages across the river once thrived from the American tourists who would come to the town and buy things. Now US border restrictions have cut off this sort of trade. One canyon we visited had a singing Mexican cowboy on the other side. He was pretty good and had a tip jar on our side, I did give him some money, I wish I had had more, hearing him sing was pretty beautiful. I did film him.