Marfa Arena


A lot of the works at the Chinati foundation are, frankly, dreck. Bisected cones of copper, river rocks arranged in circles, that sort of thing. (Even the tour guides occasionally acknowledge this: “on the floor over there is a work by so and so which is not very good. That’s why it’s on the floor.”) Honest, she really said this.

I’m not a huge fan of minimalism, and have little patience for the kind of “art” which consists of, say, hanging a two-liter bottle filled with colored water from the ceiling. Arguably I should’ve skipped Marfa entirely, because that’s a big part of what they do — but there are a few things here that are beautiful.

This room, for example. Ignore the dull boxy furniture which is, I gather, what you’re supposed to be looking at in here. Instead listen to the sun heating the metal roof, causing a long stream of pings and rattles that sound exactly like a heavy rain.

Photo of Marfa Arena