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Marfa Modern : Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert
by Helen Thompson and Casey Dunn


Overview - Twenty-one houses in and around Marfa, Texas, provide a glimpse at creative life and design in one of the art world's most intriguing destinations.

When Donald Judd began his Marfa project in the early 1970s, it was regarded as an idiosyncratic quest.  Read more...


 
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More About Marfa Modern by Helen Thompson; Casey Dunn
 
 
 
Overview
Twenty-one houses in and around Marfa, Texas, provide a glimpse at creative life and design in one of the art world's most intriguing destinations.

When Donald Judd began his Marfa project in the early 1970s, it was regarded as an idiosyncratic quest. Today, Judd is revered for his minimalist art and the stringent standards he applied to everything around him, including interiors, architecture, and furniture. The former water stop has become a mecca for artists, art pilgrims, and design aficionados drawn to the creative enclave, the permanent installations called "among the largest and most beautiful in the world," and the austerely beautiful high-desert landscape.

In keeping with Judd's site-specific intentions, those who call Marfa home have made a choice to live in concert with their untamed, open surroundings. Marfa Modern features houses that represent unique responses to this setting--the sky, its light and sense of isolation--some that even predate Judd's arrival.

Here, conceptual artist Michael Phelan lives in a former Texaco service station with battery acid stains on the concrete floor and a twenty-foot dining table lining one wall. A chef's modest house comes with the satisfaction of being handmade down to its side tables and bath, which expands into a private courtyard with an outdoor tub. Another artist uses the many rooms of her house, a former jail, to shift between different mediums--with Judd's Fort D. A. Russell works always visible from her second-story sun porch.

Extraordinary building costs mean that Marfa dwellers embrace a culture of frontier ingenuity and freedom from excess--salvaged metal signs become sliding doors and lengths of pipe become lighting fixtures, industrial warehouses are redesigned after the area's white-cube galleries to create space for private or personally created art collections, and other materials are suggested by the land itself: walls are made of adobe bricks or rammed earth to form sculptural courtyards, or, in one remarkable instance, a mix of mud and brick plastered with local soils, cactus mucilage, horse manure, and straw.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781580934732
  • ISBN-10: 1580934730
  • Publisher: Monacelli Press
  • Publish Date: October 2016
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Architecture > Interior Design - General
Books > Architecture > Regional
Books > > Interior Decorating

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-09-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

This book of modern interiors captures both the unique sense of place and the vibrant artistic community of Marfa, Tex., a mecca for art pilgrims, design aficionados, and international hipsters. Artist Donald Judd (19281994) first moved there in 1971 and eventually set up set up the Chinati Foundation, attracting other artists and art fans to the area. Some of the homes are recent additions, while others predate Judds arrival, drawing upon the autonomous kind of modernism of a remote location with a simple set of local materials. Renovation for modern use typically involved stripping these structures a former dance hall, a former jail, a former Texaco with car battery acid stains retained on the floordown to their basic elements. The materials range from age-old compounds of mud to very modern aerated concrete. The desert landscape is a both a boon and a challenge. Several of the buildings find unique ways to showcase the landscape without becoming swallowed up by it. Courtyards and unconventional windows blur, blunt, and dramatize the scenery, shielding interiors at points while opening them blissfully at others. The idea, in the words of Thompson (former Texas city editor of Metropolitan Home), of a place where the demand to live for art is so compelling as to be unavoidable might sound hyperbolic, but when readers see how these residents live, theyll understand. Color photos. (Oct.)

 
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