Chinati

Donald Judd put the town of Marfa, Texas on the art world map. He founded this amazing museum, so that large conceptual art installations could be on permanent display. Originally this project was in conjunction with DIA but now it is supported by the independent Chinati Foundation. The museum is situated in the high desert of Western Texas with views of the Chinati mountain range. Art can be seen both in large re-purposed military buildings and outside on the expansive grounds.

Access to the interior galleries is limited to pre-arranged tours but Judd’s iconic work “Untitled, 15 works in concrete” from 1980-1984 can be visited without reservations.

16-17-03 16-17-01 16-17-02

The 15 arrangements of concrete rectangular solids consist of a total of 60 forms all fabricated on site. All have of these elements have the same exterior measurements of 2.5 meters high by 2.5 meters deep by 5 meters long. The slabs of concrete are 25 centimeters thick.  The grouping of forms are situated in a straight line and  60 meters apart over a length of 1 kilometer. Each arrangement has between 3 and 6 of the concrete sculptural elements. Judd’s placement of the rectangular open blocks is also mathematically specific relying on a series of ratios to best differentiate the 15 installations and the shadows created by the natural light.

I went to visit the site twice.  Once in the bright sun of mid morning and again in the late afternoon. The pictures above were taken during my afternoon visit. The angles of the shadows, both within the concrete forms and on the landscape varies dramatically. By creating a set of numerical rules that allowed for a uniformity of the elements then exploring 15 permutations for this these building blocks in a dramatic setting Judd has provided the viewer an amazing experience to feel a physical connection to the art.

Susan Happersett

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