MARFA, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town. Ever heard of it?
This tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than a deceiving world class art station like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It’s a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum ( & let’s not kid ourselves – the drugs too).
Although the locals have mixed feelings about being an art mecca, Kaki Aufdengarten-Scott, Marfa’s one-woman chamber of commerce, says without art tourism, “this town would have dried up and blown away.”
This town has one bank, one pizza place, one coffee shop, one laundry, one radio station, one bookshop — basically one of everything, except for the things of which it has none: billboards, pet stores, chain stores, clothing stores, bowling alleys or traffic lights.
Was this someones idea of a cruel joke? A shopping mirage? Guess the joke was on me when I tried to open the door and it just would not open. Believe me I tried. Hope there was no camera! My husband laughed at my expense because he knew it would have been at HIS expense had the shop actually been open.
Prada, Marfa is a faux boutique displaying luxury bags and shoes in the middle of the sparse Texas landscape. It was created in 2005 by artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
When Hollywood needs Western desolation, it comes to Marfa.
With Hollywood types, it doesn’t hurt that Marfa is, well, a different sort of Texas town, with just one blinking traffic light but 14 art galleries, an independent bookstore and an organic grocery. Are you getting the picture?
“No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” were filmed here, which made actor Daniel Day-Lewis (of the latter film) a regular jogger up and down the main drag, Highland Avenue, for a while.
Also, more than 50 years ago, famed filmmaker George Stevens also settled on this area for his epic Texas oil tale “Giant,” which starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. (Stevens won a best director Oscar for “Giant” in 1957, the only win of that film’s 10 nominations).
Hey, I’ve been to the hotel where they stayed at (Paisano) which was a beautiful little find and even saw the rooms they stayed in which made my imagination run wild at the thought of all sorts of shenanigans going on – who was with who, etc. Well we now know who Rock wasn’t with! Above Photos: d. king
Okay, back to 2012. I don’t want to blow Marfa’s cover too much because who knows.. they might even consider opening up a Starbucks? Oops.. maybe they already have.
The Scandinavian-born, Berlin-based artist collaborators Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset with their permanently installed sculpture aptly entitled Prada Marfa, which actually stands some 30 miles outside of Marfa. The boutique’s resemblance to its major-city counterparts, however, is purely external; visitors are not invited to enter the installation. Yeah I know that! And how does designer Miuccia Prada feel about the work of art, which features pieces from her fall collection in the windows? The answer is easy: she picked the shoes herself.