Marfa, TX 79843, USA
Art TrekEstablished in 1863 as a railroad freight headquarters station, this far-west Texas town enjoyed a moment of Hollywood glamour when Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson stayed here during the filming of the 1956 motion picture Giant. But its present claim to fame is as an unlikely international art world mecca. The late sculptor Donald Judd established his residence and studios here. The buildings now display works by Judd and other artists while the Chinati Foundation—a contemporary art museum—presents large-scale installations. Another of Marfa's draws involves an age-old mystery: the Marfa Lights, visible on clear nights, are galactic manifestations that sometimes twinkle, and other times seem in an active play of motion. Whether due to geography (Marfa is surrounded by three mountain ranges, and rests on a plateau at almost 5,000 feet) or atmospheric conditions, this phenomenon—or mirage—has been observed since the 19th century.