In the 1970s, contemporary artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa to escape the art community he began to grow wary of. It was there that he bought an entire army base, using the landscape of the desert as his canvas for his own legendary and distinctive massive outdoor installations. He also filled the spaces with the work of his contemporaries, such as Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain. Today, the Chinati Foundation continues to preserve and present the large-scale installations that Judd left behind when he passed away. Visitors can take a full tour of the grounds, which lasts four and a half hours and costs $25; an abbreviated version lasts two hours and costs $20.
Marfa’s legacy as an artists haven continues to live. Its long reputation has resulted in a recent influx of a younger population trying their hand at opening small businesses or finding an affordable place to live while mastering their chosen craft.
No doubt, they’re also drawn to both the dramatic visual landscapes of the high desert and funky, small-town vibe. Honky-tonk bars, vegan cafes and art-filled coffee shops are havens where visitors can rub elbows with sculptors, painters, filmmakers and celebrities all at once. Surprisingly enough, you won’t find an art district in Marfa — rather, you’ll find it at every turn, whether it’s a gallery, performance or outdoor installation.