This Weekend, Celebrate Art, Donald Judd, and the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas
For the first time in two years, the Chinati Foundation—a contemporary museum located on the outskirts of artsy Marfa, Texas—will host its annual open house, celebrating the works of artists Dan Flavin and Hyong-Keun Yun.
For nearly two years, museums have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic, which has been especially true in COVID-ravaged west Texas. But Marfa’s Chinati Foundation—world renowned for being the former homestead of the late minimalist artist Donald Judd and for housing the large collection of works he left behind—is slowly making a comeback. From Friday, October 8, through Sunday, October 10, visitors can celebrate the organization’s 34th annual Weekend Open House, the first time it has been held since 2019—in-person.
Occupying 340 acres on the outskirts of art hot spot Marfa, Texas, the Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum established by Judd in 1987. Judd partially relocated to Marfa from New York City in 1971 and subsequently began buying up houses and land around town to create his dream artistic playground and exhibition space. During his sojourns to Marfa (he also maintained homes in New York and Switzerland), his works blossomed in scale, with installations sometimes taking over entire rooms—and when the rooms weren’t big enough to accommodate his ideas, he would build his pieces outside, as was the case with his 15 untitled works in concrete.
Judd’s original vision for the museum initially centered around displaying his own work as well as art by sculptural light artist Dan Flavin and abstract sculptor John Chamberlain, but he ended up adding pieces by David Rabinowitch, Richard Long, and Coosje van Bruggen, among others, in his later years. After his death in 1994, the museum continued to further expand the collection with more artwork and installations. The work of Flavin and Korean painter Hyong-Keun Yun (an artist whom Judd admired) will be spotlighted during the open house.
Chinati weekend will begin on Friday evening with an open studio hosted by the foundation’s artist in residence, Alan Ruiz, whose work explores perception and space. On Saturday, plywood wall works by Judd, paintings by Yun, and an installation by Flavin will all be on display at the museum. Trombonist David Dove will also perform with his ensemble inside Flavin’s untitled (Marfa project)—a permanent installation comprised of 336 new fluorescent lamps—from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which will then be followed by an artist talk helmed by Ruiz discussing Flavin’s piece. On Sunday morning, the Chinati Foundation will hold a sunrise viewing of Judd’s iconic outdoor works on the property, which include 15 untitled works in concrete and 100 untitled works in mill aluminum. As always during the open houses, admission to the museum is free over the weekend.
Although the Chinati Foundation reopened to the public on July 22 (by reservation only), this is the first large-scale event that it has put on since the beginning of the pandemic. “The past year and a half has been very challenging, and we hope that Chinati Weekend Open House offers a respite—whether by fostering an individual connection with the art that endures here or by offering the opportunity to gather together as a community amidst the installations, architecture, land, and space that define this special place,” says Chinati Foundation director Jenny Moore.