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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The long road to Marfa

An update from Emily:

We (a car of four girls) left Dallas mentally prepared for a very long and tedious driving day essentially across the state of Texas. I tried to crochet away the hours until I made a versatile collar/viser. The drive became more and more sparse of civilization as we passed fields of sinister windmills, yet as we got closer to Marfa, we began to see hills with strange rock formations; my image of Texas has been altered. However, we made good time and arrived in Marfa starving.

Marfa has that small-town sensibility, but it is a major site for art tourism. We ate at this trendy restaurant called Maiya’s that served organic bread and $20 entrees. At dinner, my friend Lanie motioned toward a nearby table and asked if I thought that was Kiki Smith. I said that there was probably a good chance it was her. Kiki Smith is a well-known artist who recently had a retrospective at the Whitney in New York, and she was also featured on the PBS series Art 21. My other comrade Stephanie took note of her distinctive tattoos. That’s how we confirmed it was Kiki Smith.

Later that evening, we saw Kiki Smith at Eugene Binder, a gallery space in Marfa that was having an opening that night. Kiki Smith’s prints were there as well as work from Dallas artists. Behind the art gallery, there was an old police car and the antlers of a deer left on a pipe to dry.

I saw many people I recognized from Dallas and SMU, yet I also saw people from NYC and other famous people (such as the designers Proenza Schouler). Marfa has this weird familiarity factor of a small community intermixed with the larger outside art world.

We retired to the AmVets Hall, which is where all the volunteers for the Chinati Foundation were to sleep together on the wooden floor underneath a white fringe chandelier.

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