The Road to Marfa
blog title is actually a subset of the much larger journey dubbed the 'Autumn Escape' by Carol and niece Terri Griffin. Together they meticulously planned all the logistics including routes, time frames and campground/motel reservations. At the end of the final day we had driven nearly 5,000 miles, over 25 days and across four states - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. We mostly camped but the trip coordinators spaced that out nicely with periodic reservations at motels, inns and even some primetime at two southwestern casitas.
Marfa however was my road!
Carol, Terri and her partner Vance no doubt had their own too!
Rolling onto main street and at a glance, Marfa looks tired, dusty and in decay. Walk the downtown blocks though and you’ll find the hidden activity and feel the art vibe.
Architectural restorations (some complete and others in-progress), hi-end galleries and work/live spaces are all perculating in various stages within a constantly emerging, contemporary art hub. Historically Marfa was a cattle town and has been a film location for several films including the 1956 classic Giant
and more recently, the Coen Brother's No Country for Old Men
A seminal art milestone occurred in 1971 when minimalist and controversial
sculptor Donald Judd, frustrated by New York’s small gallery spaces moved to Marfa. He promptly proceeded to buy 16 decaying buildings, an entire decommissioned Army base, and three ranches spread across 40,000 acres. "Basically, he behaved like a Texan,"
says Carl Ryan, a longtime friend and Judd's lawyer.
This except from Suzanne Van Atten’s Marfa article
sums it up.
“Most city slogans are kind of dumb. Even if they sound clever at first, they begin to annoy over time. I’d be happy if I never heard, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” again. But whoever came up with the slogan for Marfa, Texas, nailed it: “Tough to get to. Tougher to explain.
Marfa is so far deep in southwest Texas, it’s practically in Mexico. The nearest city is El Paso, 200 miles away, and the closest interstate is an hour drive. To get to Marfa, you have to want to go there.”
Looking back a it all (somewhat rested but still recovering ; ) I wondered was the trip too long? Yes. Was it an epic SouthWestern sojurn? Think so. Bottom line, I'm now certifiably mesmerized by Marfa, even with the relatively short time I had there . The next visit to Marfa will be a bit quicker though...something like a flight to El Paso and a three hour drive is what I have in mind.”