Being a compendium of thoughts as we drive and drive and....
We spent the day at the Chinati Foundation (https://chinati.org), which is “an art museum…based upon the ideas of its founder, Donald Judd.” His basic idea was to create permanent installations of art produced by a small set of artists that he admired. Works by 11 artists are included in the collection, many of them monumental. The Foundation is located on a closed military base and the old buildings – barracks, an airplane hangar, artillery sheds, etc. – have been recycled into galleries, usually one artist per building.
These being the friends of Donald Judd, it is perhaps not surprising that, like much contemporary art, some of the works left us feeling cold. There were a few that stood out – Dan Flavin’s neon sculptures, Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s giant horseshoe, Ilya Kabakov’s recreation of an abandoned Soviet school, photographs by John Chamberlain (as opposed to his big metal sculptures, which were uninteresting), and John Wesley’s paintings.
Perhaps most surprisingly, given our lukewarm reaction to Judd’s exterior works yesterday, the major installation of his work - 100 untitled works in mill aluminum – did strike a chord. Each of the works has the same outside dimensions and are made of the same material, with different spaces and interiors. They are installed in 2 huge buildings, lined up in rows. Something about the repetition yet the differentiation, in a confined space, made them more than just a set of blocks. (Photography wasn’t allowed, but the home page of the Foundation’s website has a picture.)
Also notable today was that after days of 90 degree weather, it was below 50 in the morning and we were wearing puffy jackets and hats. Supposedly, it will be back to “normal” (hot) tomorrow. This was a harbinger of things to come, however, as we will be heading north, where, according to the weather reports, it will be significantly colder than in the West Texas desert.