The American West continues to be a largely desolate frontier. A visit will yield seemingly uncharted territory dotted with dying - and honest-to-goodness "ghost" - towns. It is rustic. It is challenging. It is made for mavericks (and vice versa).
Historically, artists have been drawn to the remote majesty of the landscape. One town peopled by aesthetically aware hipsters is Marfa, Texas.
"Giant" (1956), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean, put Marfa on the map for outsiders. Shortly thereafter a legend was printed, supposedly dating back to the 1800s, about the "Marfa lights": mysterious chromatic illuminations observed in the night sky. In the past three years, two Oscar winning films have utilized the location -- Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" and the Coen Brothers' "No Country For Old Men."
Today, the Marfa Ballroom boasts art, music, and film on the cutting edge of offerings that one might find in Williamsburg or Greenpoint. The Thunderbird Hotel provides lodging for discerning travelers. The Chinati Foundation is a magnet for aficionados from all locales, exhibiting Donald Judd's installation pieces in interior and exterior galleries conceived for specific presentation. The Prada storefront on the road from El Paso is a sore-thumb beacon of highbrow commerce in the stark wilds of the West Texas desert.
Like a William Eggleston photograph come to life, Marfa is something to see. Check it out before too many Brooklynites flock and settle. Dispatched by L. Jaeger (Above photo: Drew Tewksbury)
"A locally run hotel since 1959, Bob Harris of Lake/Flato Architects reinvigorated the Thunderbird’s classic ‘50s horseshoe shape and interior courtyard for its 2005 reopening." Thunderbird © 2009 All Rights Reserved.