Transpecos: welding rattlesnakes

Derelict roadhouses, rolling hills, whipping grasslands bleached by the high sun. The wayward journey to Marfa feels as though you are perpetually becoming more lost. Only when you enter and pass the schools of perfectly tailored men and glamorously robed women do you realize you have arrived. And it’s somewhat off-putting. Here, in the middle of nowhere, where you have supposedly left the confines of highbrow society and its grasps on values, lies the exemplary dog and pony show of the art world. Another cast system relayed as a bohemian mecca. 

The 2 x 2 pinhole in Southwest Texas airs a perplexing aura – there is an undisputed novelty in everything from an abandoned warehouse to the street light’s glow. El Cosmico, the undisputed lodging treasure lies on the edge of the Chianti Foundation property, about a mile from the center of town and is no doubt an experience of its own. The teepees are luxurious and the company an interesting breed for a fireside tales. Nothing is as enlivening as an outdoor sunrise morning shower with the crisp desert air whirling through the steam in a tin and wooden bathhouse followed by freshly brewed coffee.  A kick before the Chianti tour.

Visionary contemporary artist Donald Judd imagined a place where art lived amongst the landscape. The two former artillery sheds were renovated to hold his 100 aluminum works – each differentiating slightly, providing various reflections of light and color. The whole tour a stiff, cult-like pace with canvas-lad Brooklynites and art-lovers dragging their heels in reserved bewilderment. Silence besides the wind and leaves. 

And then Chamberlain. His work punched us out of hypnosis. Crinkled graphic steel a tangible graffiti seemed to implode before our eyes.

STAY: El Cosmico teepee 
DINE: Maiya’s 
VISIT: Marfa Studio of Art
MIND:  Chianti tours and dinner reservations should be booked in advance.