October 11, 2023 700 PM
MARFA — Beginning last Friday, The Chinati Foundation opened its doors for its 36th annual Chinati Weekend, a three-day event during which art lovers can freely survey the foundation’s offerings and soak in the many other arts displays Marfa has to offer.
For the foundation’s executive director, Caitlin Murray, it was her first Chinati Weekend in the role, which she assumed earlier this year. She was struck by the breadth of the weekend’s offerings and the breadth of the artists and visitors who continue to flock to the annual event.
“It was a special weekend!” said Murray. “I was struck by the number of artists with ties to Chinati that returned to celebrate, which is a testament to the enduring impact and relevance of this place. It was also wonderful to connect with new visitors, who came from Alpine, Dallas, San Francisco, Mexico City, and beyond to spend time with the work here.”
The open house event has been taking place annually since its inception in 1987 by the foundation’s founder, the artist Donald Judd, and gives visitors an opportunity to experience all the foundation has to offer. This year, Saturday’s programming included Cosmos/Continuous Line, an exhibition of loom-based textiles by Zapotec weaver and dyer Porfirio Gutiérrez, and a movement performance by choreographer Laura Gutierrez, accompanied by cellist Matt Haimovitz, upon Sarah Crowner’s Platform (Blue Green Terracotta for JC). Saturday ended with a performance of Black Rainbows by Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae at Saint George Hall.
On Sunday, viewers were treated to a sunrise viewing Robert Irwin’s untitled (dawn to dusk) ahead of Chinati’s open hours, followed by a screening of the documentary Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling (2022).
The weekend was well-attended, said Murray, and a benefit dinner held Saturday to raise money for Chinati’s programming was sold out.
Then there is the programming outside of the foundation itself — the weekend begins on Friday with Made in Marfa, a citywide celebration of local artistry wherein local shops and galleries open their doors for exhibitions, performances and more. For many local artists, the weekend provides an opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience and meet new people.
Local artist Matt Scobey premiered his new work in the exhibition With Every Action at the MAINTENANT gallery in Antelope Hills. More than 100 people alone — mostly locals — attended the opening reception Thursday evening, he said, and more locals and out-of-towners alike came throughout the weekend to see his sculptural works that play off the light and landscape.
“It was heartwarming,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect that many folks to come.”
“When anyone wants to support your art practice — and besides just maybe friends or acquaintances — whenever anyone wants to come out and see something you made, it’s kind of humbling,” he added.
Scobey, who also works part-time for both the Chinati Foundation and the Judd Foundation, said some highlights of the weekend for him included What Rises & Falls Out of Sight, a multidisciplinary, collaborative show at The Institute for Material Interpretation, and As In A Mirror, an exhibition of flash photography on fabric by Cobra Rock co-founder Logan Caldbeck.
The weekend also coincided with Ballroom Marfa’s 20th anniversary, and with the unveiling of some renovation projects of the Block, namely the winter garden, by the Judd Foundation, which also opened its doors for open viewing and a garden tour on Saturday.
Murray noted that the expansiveness of the displays — both within the Chinati Foundation and among its cohorts — were a highlight of the weekend.
“The breadth and quality of the weekend’s program were highlights for me,” said Murray. “Additionally, it was a wonderful weekend to celebrate the accomplishments of our friends throughout town, including Judd Foundation and Ballroom Marfa.”