Marfa Texas…that is where the Chinati Foundation is settled. The Foundation was an initiative by Donald Judd who founded this in 1979. Since buildings were eerected and exhibitions were being held with friends and admired artists. There were exhibitions with works by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist’s work is installed in a separate building on the museum’s grounds.
One of the main buildings is called the Arena. It was built in the 1930s as a gymnasium for the soldiers at Fort D.A. Russell. After the fort closed in 1946, the gym floor was torn up for the wood, and sand was laid to provide an indoor arena for horses. In the mid 1980s, Judd restored the building, which was largely dilapidated. Judd left the long strips of concrete that had originally supported the wooden floor, and filled the intervening spaces with gravel. For practical considerations, Judd poured a large concrete area by the kitchen at the south end, and a smaller area at the north end of the building’s interior. These two areas comprise half of the total area of the building. Judd also added a sleeping loft and designed the outer courtyard, which includes areas for eating, bathing, and a barbecue. There are two works by David Rabinowitch installed in the building: one on the ground floor (Elliptical Plane in 3 Masses and 4 Scales, 1971-72) and one in the loft (6-Sided Bar, III, 1969). These works are on long-term loan from the Judd Foundation.
Chinati is like a Disney park for the Minimal art admirer. Everything breathes Minimal Art and the Judd designs make it even more special. There are some very nice Donald Judd books available at www.ftn-books.com including one publication by the Chinati foundation.