Eiseley and Emily in Marfa

Art history majors Eiseley and Emily are traveling to West Texas in October to the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum, in Marfa. They are two of 12 SMU students working as guides at the Judd Foundation Open House, a weekend of art, music and talks that attracts an international audience of 2,000 people and one of the most exciting contemporary art events of the year.

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Art in action

An update from Emily:

After a night of tossing and turning on an ancient wooden floor, we had to wake up early to go to orientation for volunteering. For Open House weekend, the Chinati Foundation needs people to be in all the spaces where the installations are so it can all be open at once. So students were volunteers to watch spaces as visitors wandered around Marfa. The Chinati Foundation also feeds the volunteers (tortillas and beans) and provides them accomodations (AmVets Hall) in exchange for their service.

I got the afternoon shift so I spent the morning exploring the spaces myself. I saw rooms full of Judd’s dematerialized steel boxes and in the distance the robust forms of his concrete boxes in the landscape. Not to mention room after room of transcedent Flavin installations in which the colored fluorescent lights seemed too out of place in a small West Texas town – yet the work was made specifically for these spaces.

It was then my time to watch the artist-in-residency space in downtown Marfa. Michael Krumenacker was the artist who was living in Marfa and making work. I really began to enjoy the work the longer I stayed with it. Many people came to visit the space while I was stationed in there, and some asked if I was the artist. I wish.

After I was done volunteering, there was a big free dinner set up for Open House for anyone who wanted to eat, but it began raining. The dinner was delayed, but it still happened after the clouds passed. The whole town of Marfa got together to eat Mexican food and listen to a mariachi band. However, the band I was most looking forward to seeing was Sonic Youth, who was playing in Marfa later that night.

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