Marfa is awesome. And fucking weird.

So, week before last I went to Marfa, Texas with some friends to cheer on our friend John who brought us out for his book launch.  And I plan on writing about all of it but I probably won’t because I’m irresponsible so instead I just put it all up on flickr but it doesn’t really do justice to how completely awesome and weird the whole tour was.  Case in point?  The Chinati Foundation.

Apparently this place was a series of museum buildings founded by a minimalist artist named Donald Judd, and I was looking forward to meeting him but it turns out he’s been dead since 1994.  So we were off to a bad start to begin with.  Our guide was an adorable young girl named…something.  I forget.  If I was a real journalist I’d write this shit down, but I’m not so let’s call her “Choochie” because it’s a fun name.  Choochie did not love us.  And by “us” I mean “me”.

We went to the first building, which was a gift shop, and there was a cool light fixture on the wall but I couldn’t tell if it was art or if they just got lazy when they were installing their lights.  I stared at it and attempted to look intrigued and bemused at the same time since I didn’t know which one was right, and I wanted to take a picture of it but I was afraid that the guides watching us would be all “Why the fuck is she taking a picture of our light bulbs?”  So instead I asked Katie to stand by it, so that if it wasn’t art I could just pretend I wanted a picture of Katie.  Then Katie whispered “Oh.  Is this art?” and I was all “I have no fucking idea.”  Then it all went downhill quickly.

*Spoiler alert* ~ It's art.

Then Choochie took us to the first building, and outside there were these cement blocks in a field and I thought that they must be pissed that it was fucking up the landscape, but turns out that was the first art installation.  It was also the point when I started to suspect these people were just fucking with me.

"Yes, it's *supposed* to look that way."

We went inside the largest building to see hundreds of…squares?  Ovens?  I don’t know.  It looked a lot like Ikea.  I nodded thoughtfully and tried to pretend that I totally understood the point of this, and I asked Choochie if there was a reason for all the ovens and she was all “They aren’t ovens.  They are unique variations on a perfect shape created to an exact specification” and I was all “Oh.  So, the art is all about how precisely this Judd guy made ovens?” and then she explained that he didn’t actually make any of them.  He just had other people do it.  Which seems like cheating.  And I must have said that out loud because Choochie’s eyebrows shot up, but honestly I bet the people who actually made those ovens were pissed.  Then another guide came over her walkie-talkie and was all “Guys?  There’s a dead fox outside building 3” and I asked, “Is that part of the art exhibit?” and Choochie was all “No.  It’s not art. It’s just sad” and I was all “Well, agree to disagree.”  Then she walked away to contemplate my artistic vision, or maybe to find a shovel.

Now I'm hungry for hibachi shrimp.

Then we went to another building that was supposed to be about…math…I think?  But basically it was a room full of shelves.  With nothing on them.

No shit, y'all.

And everyone else went around looking meaningfully at the shelves, and Choochie looked like we should be impressed, but I suspected that someone had actually stolen the real art and she was just trying to save face.  After about 2 minutes I said, “Okay, I’m just going to say it, Choochie.  Your art is missing. It’s like there used to be art on these shelves, and then they took the art away and left the empty shelves here to test people to see if they get that the art is missing.”  Then Choochie just stared at me and I was all “I win, right?” and she paused like 10 seconds before telling me that they weren’t shelves at all, and I was all “Dude. I saw these exact same shelves in Ikea last month” and she was like “I don’t think so“, but if I was the Chinati Foundation I’d maybe check out Ikea, because I think they’re using the same people who made your shelves and the ovens and you could probably get them way cheaper.  I tried to explain that to Choochie but she didn’t seem to want to hear it, so I stopped talking because I could see her wide-eyed artistic idealism being crushed by my logic.  But seriously, she should check that shit out because all that’s missing is a gerbera daisy in a white vase and you totally have the Ikea catalog cover.  Also, this post was not sponsored by Ikea.  Or the Chinati Foundation.  This is probably already clear.

Then we went into another building that was empty except for a bunch of lights bulbs way at the end of the room.  And then the next building had the same thing.  At the third building I asked if it was the same thing because I was kind of tired of walking and she said it wasn’t the same and so I went inside, and she was right because these lights were slightly more blue.  Totally worth it. I tried to pretend that I saw the difference, but then gave up and I was all “You know what would be awesome?  If we MADE some art in this place” and I got everyone to get in front of the lights and do some performance art and everyone loved it except Choochie who was not having it, and then I felt bad again so I was all “Okay, I’m really trying here.  What’s this supposed to symbolize?” and Choochie was like”It doesn’t symbolize anything. It just ‘is’.”  And that’s when I realized that Choochie had drunk the kool-aid, or that – more like – she’d just given up on trying to educate me.  It was a smart call.

"Defiled" is an ugly word. I'd like to think we *enhanced* the art.

Then things started to feel kind of surreal and I started seeing art that didn’t even exist, like “Ooh grass!” and Choochie’s just glaring off into space like she wants Donald Judd to appear and rescue her from me, and then I remembered the time that I’d worked at a guide at a museum when they were doing a Persian rug exhibit and all the people were like “Why is the carpet on the walls?  Where’s the real art?” and then I felt sorry for her so I decided to stop talking.

But then (just when I’d given up on ever understanding modern art) she took us to the last building, which had what Choochie referred to as “the barge” in it, and it was basically a small mountain of foam covered with sheets of canvas that you could lay on.  Which was awesome. There were also TV’s mounted on each side of the barge, and they played a loop of this very artistic movie that I’m pretty sure was actually porn.  True story. Our guide clarified that it was “an artistic movie with erotic undertones”.  Exactly like Boogie Nights.  Then we left, and on the way out I told her that I was sorry for making her day hell but that I really appreciated her patience, and I was all “The porn barge was totally my favorite part”  Then she got quiet and I think she walked into the other room to cry, probably because she was so moved that I’d finally been touched by the art.

Porn, Laura, me, Katherine, Nancy, Monica, Katie, Porn. (Porn not shown.)

Best day ever.  Thanks, Choochie.

152 thoughts on “Marfa is awesome. And fucking weird.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Did you feel like the little kid in the Emperor Has No Clothes? Like Hey Choochie, Did you know you are COMPLETELY FUCKING NAKED and by the way, this is not ART, it IS, in fact HUNDREDS of Ovens and Also, I heard that Judd guy made a killing, recycling old kitchen appliances.
    .-= Kit´s last blog ..Dangerous Letters, Vol. 6 =-.

  2. Whoa, I totally misread the name of the museum and thought it was Chianti, and I was like, “Wow, they have a whole museum dedicated to one type of wine? In a place called Marfa? They should rename the museum Marfa’s Vineyard!” Then I was all confused as to why no one had thought of that before. It’s not that clever. Then I was all confused about why there was no wine on the art. Or wine with the art tour. Or even empty wine bottles on the shelves. Then I realized I had misread the name of the museum. So overall, I was a little disappointed. But at least I could be disappointed second-hand, rather than having to be disappointed in front of the tour guide who had to drink Kool-Aid instead of wine. She probably thought Chianti was one of the benefits of the job. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  3. My fellow art-majors and I had a running gag. Whenever one of our teachers told us to break shit and make “abstract art” the end result would have to be titled one of the following:
    1) The Inner Struggle of Man
    2) Nude in repose
    3) Untitled work #42

    None of the teachers realized this, I think.
    Needless to say, instead of a respected artist who gets govt. grants, I’m a cartoonist.

  4. There’s nothing like empty paupers’ tombs to art up the countryside.

    Also, I’m wondering if Donald Judd was just scrimping on decorator fees to save some dough and then kicked the bucket before he had the chance to purchase knick-knacks.
    .-= Sarah p´s last blog ..Mish-mash and flash, possibly NSFW =-.

  5. I think you meant gerbera daisy, but a flower made of Gerber baby food would make for awesome modern art.

  6. Thank you for saying what I have always been too afraid to say in regards to modern art.

    Though, in fairness, I go to art school. So it’s entirely possible that if I did say anything like that I’d get shanked the next day in class. No matter how true it is.

  7. I’m sure you must have been missing something with the dead fox. I’ll bet there wasn’t even a dead fox there, they just wanted you to think there was a dead fox there, because for some reason a dead fox not being there would be totally mysterious. Or some shit like that.
    .-= Xtreme´s last blog ..Lame / Good =-.

  8. OMLG exaaaaaaaaaaaaactly! And the fact that he didn’t even make the stupid ovens himself totally threw me over the edge in terms of basically hating this guy. I felt like it was a test and if I faked being impressed then everyone would start laughing and pointing at the moron who “fell for it.” So I laughed and pointed at it instead, and got scowled at.

  9. It’s things like that that make me want to scream at artists, “you’re all full of shit!” Respectfully, of course. This is also why I couldn’t make myself be an English major. After three semesters of people finding Christ-figures in silly stories written by drunks, my head was developing an indent from where I’d bashed it into the desk one too many times.
    .-= amber´s last blog ..Proof That Food is Love. =-.

  10. We have one of those museums in Beacon, NY. Its a former Nabisco factory except they didn’t make cookies there they just made the boxes. Then it shut down and the town went to hell. They should have made the cookies.

    Anyway.

    The museum has a lot of pieces by that guy who did the thing with the florescent lights. I always wonder what happens when they burn out. Do you just leave the burned out bulb there to maintain the integrity of the piece or do you just send an intern out to Walmart to pick up a replacement and not tell anyone?

  11. Please don’t tell my fiance that porn is now considered art. Then he would be able to justify getting caught watching two midgets doing it last week. And really, I’d much rather see him squirm in shame as I spill the beans to his elderly parents than hear him pass it off as artistic expression. Humiliation is way cooler than art.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Boobquake – A Scientific Photo Essay =-.

  12. Well, obviously, now you have to repost the version of this post that you accidentally misposted earlier, especially if it didn’t make any sense. Then you can say “That’s blog art, y’all. Minimalist blogging. It doesn’t *mean* anything, it just *is*.” And if stupid commenters insist on asking you questions about it, you can just roll your eyes and make exasperated noises until we get embarrassed and shut up.
    Then we’ll all marvel at how clever and enigmatic and artistic you are, and how stupid we must be not to *get* you, and you totally will have *won*.

  13. scarymommy – I have a BFA too! I wrote a really artistic poem likening the penis to the waving arm of those gold Chinese-restaurant cats, and they put a letter in my file that says I can’t go to grad school. I am glad there are two of us.
    .-= emvandee´s last blog ..Chicken and spinach calzones. =-.

  14. RE: Marfa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marfa,_Texas

    Marfa sounds like an abbreviation to me; like one does not want to say the entire swear word because there are small children and judgmental aunts around.

    You should have left an empty Dr. Pepper can on the shelf and called it art. It is Texas! Better yet, glue it on with eyelash glue (or toothpaste).

  15. Somewhere there’s a spirit/totem/something trying desperately to speak with you. I don’t know how else to explain the animal corpses that seem to be following you around.

    Listen to them. They probably know where you left the car keys.
    .-= Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points´s last blog ..ALERT THE MEDIA =-.

  16. Almost as confusing as yarn exhibits where they string a single strand of yarn from floor to ceiling and call it art… I love art but sometimes I just have to scratch my head and nod…
    .-= Malskeys´s last blog ..Definitions =-.

  17. Like Scary Mommy I have an art degree (3, actually, because I’m that stupid)but I never cared much for Judd. I understand and appreciate his relationship within the trajectory of modern and contemporary art but I always feel like “meh” when I see it. (I’m pretty sure ‘meh’ is a qualified art theory term). Perhaps you are more like me and prefer art with more “humor” (and by humor I mean we’re all going to hell). Check out The Chapman Brothers: http://www.jakeanddinoschapman.com/ OR Patricia Piccinini: http://www.patriciapiccinini.net/
    Please don’t report me to child services…
    .-= Tonya´s last blog ..Yo Stonyfield Farms! I am Going SO Jamie Oliver On Your Ass! =-.

  18. First off, the first comment mentioned a BFA and now I’m wondering if *I* have a BFA because technically it was English and it’s a BA but what makes something an F A so I really need to look into this whole education thing because I’d like to spruce it up a bit if I can….
    Secondly, there’s one exhibit in our local museum that’s a dark recessed hole in the wall. It sort of works like an optical illusion because of the lighting and you think it’s a gray square but WOW! it’s really a hole. Then you’re sort of pissed, like, hey, this isn’t art – it’s a HOLE. I could do that at HOME. In fact, I HAVE done that at home. But not for art, just because I fell down the stairs and my foot hit the drywall.

  19. good thing you finished with the barge … if that had been first on the tour, you may have seen nothing but.

    One of my dogs brought some art in the house this morning. A dead squirrel. He acted like he was all Picasso and shit … I have to admit. It WAS pretty awesome…
    .-= The Queer Next Door´s last blog ..Wisteria and Poo =-.

  20. will have to find a way to use “sex,” “barge,” “ikea,” “hibachi shrimp,” and “slightly more blue” all together in one sentence today. magic, i tell you. magic.

  21. I like minimalism, really. I find the lack of clutter calming. I with you on thinking this is not all art? This is just when minimalism is taken to an extreme. An extreme I like to label “cheap.”

    I hope you really said all that stuff to Choochie, because she is probably doing that gig for free and that is just sad…
    .-= tokenblogger´s last blog ..Are you needing a horse to root for in the 136th Derby? =-.

  22. I bet they were playing Showgirls, right? Because I know that i am truly inspired when i see that movie. (Thrust, thrust!)
    Also, I recently had a dream about Marky Mark giving me good vibrations. There was no Funky Bunch though; because I’m not a tramp.
    .-= Megnacarta´s last blog ..Miss Fancy Pants =-.

  23. You. Are at least eleven kinds of funny. And at least 24 kinds of awesome. Possibly more.

    Whenever I get in to a discussion about art from now on (and it happens all the time, I run with a waaaayyyy classy group of drunks) I will point them to this post. Thanks for being all that funny and awesome.

  24. I have an empty hallway in my house. The only thing on the wall is the thermostat, which I’m pretty sure qualifies as minimalism. The next time husband wants to turn the heat down, I’m going to give him shit about defiling the art.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Damn. =-.

  25. Fun post! Dude, I love the ikea jokes! I don’t understand how someone can just throw up some shelves and call it art. What nut jobs! Lol. Here is my art for today: $~*%90@~$

    Isn’t it beautiful? It really speaks to me.
    .-= Ashley K. ´s last blog ..April Showers Bring May Flowers. =-.

  26. Sweet Post. And I think you might be related in some odd cosmic twisted universe way to my husband. He totally, doesn’t understand abstract art… even when I painstakingly pound it into his head. Oh well, he has a great ass. 😉
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..REVIEW: Sin on Skin =-.

  27. I’m very impressed that you made it through the whole thing. I on the other hand would’ve left after the first building to go find someplace comfy to take a nap. Which means I would’ve ended up napping on the porn barge by the time you got to it. And then it would’ve been weird, because- who is this strange girl sleeping on the foam?
    .-= SuzRocks´s last blog ..Tourism Like a Local: DC Part 2 =-.

  28. I had the same experience (sans Choochie) at the Menil Collections’ Rothko Chapel. I was so disappointed because I thought they had taken all the paintings down for renovation or something and just left the backdrops. Yes, the backdrops WERE the paintings…

  29. Like recently the DH and I were in Arizona. He just HAD to go to some airplane museum just outside of Tuscon. He ooohh’d and aaaaaa’d through 4 hangers of planes. Yes. Planes. Then to top it off we had to take an hour long trolley ride to see….. you guessed it…….. more planes.
    It was a great day.
    .-= Holly B´s last blog ..So.. Now Im Twittering, Or Is It Twattering? =-.

  30. pretentious people need hobbies, too! …thus spake the chinati foundation.

    ok, FINE, they didn’t really spake that. (i think maybe spaking is illegal in texas.)

    tho perhaps a pretentious person sees “chinati foundation” and realizes how it symbolizes mankind’s search for large rooms filled with boxes, lights, and shelves …a.k.a. my storage room. mankind is searching for my storage room. :O i should leave a light on.

  31. Isn’t Marfa where Randy and Evi Quaid live? I kinda want to poke my eye out if they are indeed from there and that is the first thing i though of when I read “Marfa.”
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..WATCH ME JIG! =-.

  32. Have you ever been to the MoMA? They’ve got a Bic pen in the permanent exhibit. Ovens are just as weird as bics, but at least they make for some kickass photos.

  33. Interesting stuff. I took my daughter to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC a couple of times recently (links below). There is a lot of stuff there that you look at and wonder what you are looking at. My favorite from that point of view, other than the emptied vacuum bags on the floor, was the piece made up of a big room with the artist writing people’s names on the wall at their height like you do with your kids as they grow up (see the bottom link). Art is truly an amazing thing.

    http://www.randomthinking.info/wordpress/2009/03/21/moma/
    http://www.randomthinking.info/wordpress/2009/03/22/moma-2/
    http://www.randomthinking.info/wordpress/2009/09/02/moma-2-2/

    http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/980

  34. Until today every time you’ve referred to Marfa i thought you meant “Martha” – as in Martha Fucking Stewart. A work of art in her own right.

  35. I experienced something similar at the Art Institute in Chicago. First, there was a huge picture of a black dot on a black background. Black on black, I think it was called. I didn’t get it. Then we went to look at the miniatures. Crap, I paid for this trip to the museum to see the doll house accessory department at Hobby Lobby?! WTF?

    hugs,
    Susie
    http://www.motherhoot.blogspot.com
    .-= Susie Kline´s last blog ..The Creation of a Care Package =-.

  36. “I stopped talking because I could see her wide-eyed artistic idealism being crushed by my logic.”

    How nice of you.

    Chinati isn’t for everyone, obviously. I don’t necessarily “get it” either, but I’m OK with that. It’s not a trick, you know. No one’s attempting to intimidate or put anything over on you. It’s not an attack; it’s just art. It’s alright if it doesn’t speak to you. When the intern told you the piece didn’t symbolize anything, she was simply stating a fact. How that puts her on par with a cult member is beyond me.

    That said, you definitely managed to drum up support for your point of view. Congrats!

  37. I think perhaps Chookie was just sad that she didn’t have some of your art ideas to display. The whole time she was probably thinking “Man, this chick really has a mind for art! I wish she would give us some of her pieces so we can display it on these shelves so we can stop lying to ourselves and others.” Or maybe she was thinking of making YOU into art. Did you see the zombie defense table anywhere there? She may have been plotting to use it against you…
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..And You Thought U.S. Ads Had Too Much Sexuality In Them… =-.

  38. I completely agree that ART can be ONLY appreciated by those who like it. When my mother dragged me to the Louvre I appreciated the art like this. Walking, walking, painting, painting, sculpture, painting, walking, painting, sculpture… OOOOOO a bench!!! To my feet, THAT was art!

    I applaud the way you expand our minds with your “art”!

  39. This reminds me of Bridget Jones talking about going to Saatchi Gallery and almost peeing on one of the exhibits. Because the exhibit was just bathroom stalls and immaculate toilets. I think Marfa should be glad you guys didn’t try to bury the dead fox in the concrete blocks in the field.

    Also, James Garfield would complete the shelf exhibit.
    .-= ajnabi´s last blog ..April 29, or, Happy Blog Birthday To Me =-.

  40. This should clear up all confusion – I looked up Donald Judd on Wikipedia:

    “The works that Judd had fabricated inhabited a space not then comfortably classifiable as either painting or sculpture and in fact he refused to call them sculpture, pointing out that they were not sculpted but made by small fabricators using industrial processes. That the categorical identity of such objects was itself in question, and that they avoided easy association with well-worn and over-familiar conventions, was a part of their value for Judd.”

    It TOTALLY makes sense now!! I love Google..
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..Ordinary Life =-.

  41. Did anyone take you out to see the Marfa Lights? There’s a spot in Marfa where you can see ghostly lights rising out of the brush. It’s one of the more famous UFO hoaxes out there. Because of the way the highway runs, the truck lights create an optical illusion and seem to float up as independent entities.
    .-= Josin´s last blog ..Teaser Thursday =-.

  42. marfa art gives new meaning to blue light special.
    ps choochie: ikea lets you lie all over their foamy porn barges too. you may want to target them as your next employer. they pay more than artsy places and have better health benefits cuz they’re all euro and shit.
    .-= pattypunker´s last blog ..forget the shit, meet the pugs =-.

  43. Art museums make me feel like a big, fat, dummy. I went to one once with my brother and he was like, “How does this piece make you feel?” and I was like, “I don’t know, purple? Hungry? What’s the right answer here?” and then he was like, “What about this one do you like?” and I said, “I like it because I like the colors pink and purple”.

    I felt like I was a five year old picking out their favorite toy in a store because it was sparkly and had a princess on the box.
    .-= Natalie @ Hope Springs Eternal´s last blog ..New Monthly Feature – Frisky Friday =-.

  44. Dude, in the last picture you look like Little People sitting on a giant’s bed. And the top sheet is folded down, because the giant stickler for a well-made bed. And IKEA is a gallery. A gallery of art within my reach. And Swedes.

  45. As an art historian who spent my undergrad rolling my eyes at guys like Donald Judd, this is my favorite post of yours ever. While I do feel sorry for Choochie, I totally would have been cracking up.

  46. Having a flashback to the time I visited the Freud Museum in London. All the tour guides are strict analysts, and feel required to interpret any comment, no matter how benign. (Sample conversation–Me: Where is the Ladies’ room? Tour Guide: LADIES’ room? Your choice of words reflects your inner struggle with your sexuality and clearly demonstrates penis envy.) They did not appreciate our jokes. Even the ones about penis envy.

  47. …and when I visited Marfa I stood around for hours looking for UFO lights…or whatever they are supposed to be. I can’t believe I could have been visiting the museum instead…or maybe not.

    Delightful.
    .-= Jerry´s last blog ..The Piccolautist =-.

  48. These Marfa people are pure genius – but they so totally stole my idea. For a long time now I have been pondering how I could create a wall to wall bed. Nevermind the custom mattress, how do make the motherfucker? You have to sit on the sheets while tucking them in. That will never work. The one thing I totally neglected, that the Marfa people totally got (which is why they are so much better at this than I) is to play porn. Play porn and people will flock to the room-mattress or mattress-room or even better BARGE! Why didn’t I think of calling it a BARGE? I’m am so not an artist.

  49. This reminds me of the submarine thingy in the Guggenheim. I spent practically the whole time in there trying to figure out how they got the damn thing in.

    I think you definitely enhanced the art. Kudos.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..The final countdown =-.

  50. Man.

    A hundred or so years ago, in my youth, I managed an art gallery that was an artist-run cooperative. Talk about ART.

    I remember this lovely installation that took up almost the entire floor of the gallery and it consisted of some big rocks. Placed around the floor of the gallery.

    I miss artists.
    .-= Suniverse´s last blog ..Beauty v Brains =-.

  51. The sacrifices you make for us amazes me.

    Thank you for helping me mark off one more thing on my “Places I Have Never Heard of Nor Have Any Desire To Go & Visit” List.
    Now all I need is the T-shirt.

  52. What I don’t get is why I have come across other versions of EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE INSTALLATIONS in other places.

    I suspect that Marfa is in fact a place my brain created to stow away all the modern art I did not like, and somehow you guys drove into that segment of my subconscious and worst of all it’s named Marfa. Which sounds like it should be a place in Spain but is actually in Texas. Which is disappointing.
    .-= Bridget Callahan´s last blog ..The Only Post You Will Need to Get Thru The Weekend =-.

  53. I’ve always thought it was unfair for the artist to claim credit for all the shit they have other people make according to their vision. But, it’s been happening since the Renaissance, so I guess it’s a little too late to do anything about it now.

    I think you and my daughter (age 3) should hang out, as she makes up names for everyone and everything. She was actually calling something Choochie today – I can’t remember what it was. However, it reminded me that my friend uses the word Chooch as some sort of derogatory term, probably vaguely referring to genitalia. So, yes, all around, an awesome nickname.
    .-= a´s last blog ..It’s true… =-.

  54. You give us a photo of six women on the porn barge, but no actual porn. Art is such a ripoff.

  55. I went to a local artists show once that was just bizarre. One display was approximately 200 old library cards with ink splatters on the backs and they were individually pinned on the wall in rows & columns. They were kind of interesting, but the price was funny. “$2000 OR $25 per card, 15% discount for purchasing 10 or more.” Do real artists discount their art? My husband’s comment was “I guess this is why they’re still local artists.”
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..No crayons for you! =-.

  56. So, you went to Marfa and didn’t see the strange floating lights that are apparently Aliens? Wow, you have really disappointed me.
    You think that museum was weird… In art school one year, a guy won a juried gallery prize with his performance art. His performance: He sat on a stool for one hour a day and showed off the mustache he had grown especially for the Voertmans show. In his defense it was a fantastic mustache.

    In the Art Basel exhibit, I saw a dress made out of Beatles and a stuffed kittens head. It was all art.

    Also, Art Basel kicks Marfa’s ass.
    .-= Rudy´s last blog ..Blog this =-.

  57. So- what ever happened to Jenny the art chick from High School? You coulda out-arted Choochie then… (that’s right, friends and neighbors… the door is opened on the Bloggess: the early years. Film at eleven. With erotic overtones.)

  58. Revision, it was made out of beetles, the bug, not Beatles the band. Although a dress made out of Paul, John, George and Ringo and a stuffed kittens head would be the most badassed art ever.
    .-= Rudy´s last blog ..Blog this =-.

  59. So my lesbian Buddhist grandmother is named Martha but we call her Marfa so for a minute I was deeply confused by the name of your post. but then I read it and it was awesome! So you are forgiven for insulting my grandmother. I think.

  60. Holy crap! I laughed so hard at this my sides hurt.
    P.S. Next time if you could include the porn it would really “enhance” my reading experience.

  61. Any modern art museum would be much more fun for your attendance. 🙂
    creating laughter is the best art of all,
    dahlila xxoo

  62. I misread the name of the museum. I thought the second word was fountain. Then I read Mel’s comment and thought a Chianti fountain would have been fun so I’m sorry that it was all light bulbs and cheaters ovens. Art has really gone to the dogs since people stopped wearing smocks and berets.

    The fox probably died of boredom.
    .-= cathy´s last blog ..Too Irate to Celebrate. =-.

  63. i used to work at a gallery, and one day i had a ton of filing to do so i had it spread out on the floor in front of me. you would not (or maybe you would) believe the amount of people that came in and watched me with great seriousness as they considered the magnificence of my performance. and then i would have to say “uh, no. this is paperwork. art is thataway.” we also had a dog in the office, and more than one person thought she was an installation.
    when i first started working there, i was closing up one of the galleries when i found a box of froot loops on a shelf. i was not sure if the box was supposed to be replaced with a new box, or if it was part of the piece that they would become stale, and the mice would come, and then the dog that everyone thought was an installation would look at the mice but not chase them, because, after all, she was not a cat. turns out there were just some froot loops left over from the opening. you know, those wine and cheese and froot loops openings. (yes, i ate them).

  64. I went to a Frida Kahlo exhibition a couple of years ago in Philly, and they had a room with modern “art” in it. One display consisted of a long string of electric lights coiled up on the floor, but my favorite was the pile of carpet scraps. My theory is that if it looks like shit you might find stuffed in the corner of my garage, it isn’t fucking art.

  65. Hmmm…Marfa sounded like something to do with chocolate, but you ended up at something to do with ovens. Anyway, now you can be all high-and-mighty and show off your new-found oven…er…art knowledge to mere mortals.
    .-= Real Celeb Fake Speak´s last blog ..Justin Beiber =-.

  66. B.F.A. = Bachelor of Fine Arts. You have to take a few more classes and have a portfolio that they review when you graduate. At least at my college. And then the portfolio turns out to be less than useless in actually *getting* a job. At least in graphic design. Twenty years ago this was true for me.
    I don’t get this kind of art either. I’d much rather see an Impressionist show or the Masters. Whatever. If I could make money with a florescent tube, I’d do it too. Great blog, Jenny The Bloggess. Another controversial piece that is sure to stir up the masses.

  67. I , like other readers, was looking for the Chianti… and totally missed the art. I think the squares might be where the Chianti is being stashed. Like Cinder Block safes or something. And those shelves? they looked like the things you hang under your cabinets to put the wine glasses in, upside down of course.
    Then I realized that the lack of stuff WAS the art part because it MINIMALIST which I think is another word for too cheap to buy stuff or a cover up for germaphobes… either one fits.
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..I love my kids… really! I do! =-.

  68. I want to appreciate your candor. I want to respect your innocent encounter with Judd’s work (although no resident of modern society over the age of 5 is capable of an encounter that is truly naive and innocent, and even 5 might be generous). The populist in me wants to acknowledge the validity of an experience untainted by art world preconception and pretense. I really want to. But I cant. This post and, more so, this thread are just making me sad. I love Donald Judd’s work. I don’t love the man. I don’t love the men (with an emphasis on machismo) of mid/late 20th century minimalism. But I love a lot of their work. I enjoy the precision of Judd’s forms. I enjoy their scale and the way that they often make me feel neither too small nor too large. I enjoy the richness of the materials.

    It makes me sad to witness this stream of people ridiculing something simply because they don’t find it appealing. Is it so hard to approach new things with an curious mind? If you don’t understand (or simply dislike) something, why does it have to be belittled? Must everything conform to your own tastes? And must those tastes never expand and grow?

    I want to respond. I want to correct the inaccuracies proffered above. I want to argue against the mean-spirited and often dangerous logic of debasing things quickly labeled “different” or “foreign”. I want to speak up on behalf of enjoying new and different experiences. But I can’t. The petty part of me wants to ridicule back. To mock a small/simple-mindedness that has only insecure gut driven responses that have unknowingly been formed by the culture/cult of intellectual laziness that permeates our society. But I will give myself only the preceding sentence.

    This thread makes me sad. Sad for you. Sad for myself. Sad for the art (not sad for Judd, he wouldn’t give damn what you think). This art in particular has always made me happy. A lot of the work at the Dia Beacon more so. It is profoundly saddening to be reminded that most people feel the need to assail the things they don’t immediately understand.

    I’m glad you liked “the barge”.

  69. Russel, you are being incredibly generous just by reading this post. Most people who don’t recognize the ridiculous inanity in my writing give up by the first paragraph and never even attempt to comment. It might be hard to recognize, but this blog is satire and the thing really being mocked in the post is me. Check out the rest of the blog. Nothing here should ever be taken seriously and I understand completely how you could miss that this blog (and most of the comments) are satirical. My humor is very much like Donald Judd’s work…confusing, easy to misinterpret and only appreciated and understood by a small group of people who actually get it and who wonder at their peers who don’t understand it.

    Me and Donald Judd are totally going to be tight in the afterlife.

  70. Hmm…I really love Ikea, and I love art. But if I walked into a room with nothing but once piece of Ikea furniture or shelving or something in it, and then someone had the AUDACITY to call it art…I would be SO. ANGRY. And…cement bricks? Really?
    .-= Edana´s last blog ..LENTILS! =-.

  71. Hah. I have to say, you apparently touched a serious nerve with one or two commenters :-). I don’t think I ever have seen anyone get uptight about your humor, in the comments before… C’mon people! She’s a humor blogger! Lighten up!

    Oh, and? Best comments: 24 and 95. LOL-worthy.
    .-= gurukarm (@karma_musings)´s last blog ..Getcher Drop Caps Here – Fresh Daily! =-.

  72. You’re hilarious. Hanging out with you going pretty much anywhere seems like it would be interesting. You should totally have a camera crew following you everywhere you go, from your own front yard to find mushroom boobies from Jesus to fixing what other people consider art. Because lights on a board? Really? I don’t get it.
    .-= LB @Wait, She Said What?´s last blog ..Crosswalks are made for walking. =-.

  73. I knew Art.
    He was great.
    Not as good as Bob, but still fucking great.

    When they say “Art is in the eye of the beholder” I say, “He was —–and everywhere else, too.”

    Art could twist me into positions politicians would envy. I would be sore for days.
    I miss Art.

  74. Who woulda thought that little ol’ Marfa would be a cultural hotbed for minimalist/abstract art? It makes me wonder if anyone has ever tried to pass off an armadillo turd as art. I can see it now….

    “How can you call this art? It looks like…well, it looks like a turd.”
    “Of course it’s art. It’s abstract. They brought an armadillo into this lime green room and it took a shit. They just left it there and titled it.”
    “Fucking brilliant.”
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Ask Amy Friday – Episode 8 =-.

  75. I see a future for you as a docent in a modern art museum. Or maybe the owner of a junkyard.

    Actually, I want you as my docent next time *I* visit a modern art museum. And I have been to a lot of them.

    ~EdT.
    .-= EdT.´s last blog ..Necessary Efficiencies =-.

  76. I think the entire museum is a nod to recent college graduates with their own apartments and little furniture. Ikea may furnish that group, but the museum shows what the furniture looks like in the apartment, if those people lived in something bigger than a shoe box.

  77. I saw a piece of art in MOMA that was a unpainted white canvas with a single piece of orange incandescent tape running down the middle. I was like: THAT IS MY SOUL. And then I saw the play, Art, which makes fun of a very similar painting. And I thought: My soul is hilarious. I think Donald Judd would feel the same way about this post. (Or at least he should. Even though he’s dead.)
    .-= Alex @LateEnough´s last blog ..My Miracle Is That I Have Never Hit My Children =-.

  78. We live in South Carolina, a poor state filled with people who just don’t ummm….get….performance art… Several years ago before teachers were seen begging for money with tin cups, the State Museum commissioned a statute of a huge, headless, nude, pregnant woman that was SUPPOSED to decompose over a year and disappear. You can imagine the reaction.
    .-= lorrie´s last blog ..THE DUKE OF SHATTERFIELD =-.

  79. I love every single thing about this post. I’m sorry, but shelves on a wall are NOT ART. Just like when I went to the Institute of Art in Philadelphia and walked through a room of canvases, each one painted a single color. Not shades of a color, not gradients or whatever, just a single color. RED! BLUE!

    My four year old can paint an entire piece of paper red. Is that museum-quality art then? She should at least get a grant or something.

    PLEASE let me participate in some performance art with you at BlogHer. I’ll bring the tissue box holder from my room. I’m sure it will be art.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Dear readers of MY blog Table for Five, I have to tell you something =-.

  80. Go to NYC, walk around the streets that begin with the number 2 in them b/w 10th and 11th. It’ll be like Deja Vu (or however the hell you spell that word).

  81. I thought Choochie was your guide in Japan? That would be funny if your life ever got made into a TV show. Everywhere you go for a tour, there is poor, long-suffering Choochie heaving a deep sigh at your appearance!

  82. “You’re not the boss of me, Jack. You’re not the king of Dirk. I’m the boss of me. I’m the king of me. I’m Dirk Diggler. I’m the star. It’s my big dick and I say when we roll. “

  83. My grandfather used to be the mayor of Marfa, before it became the artistic hot spot that it is today. You should hear what the local cowboys (most of them my cousins of one sort or another) have to say about Donald Judd’s work…yikes. Next time you are in Marfa, you should hang out with the cowboys, not the artwork.

  84. I had a fling with a guy who was an art major or some shit and he told me all about those lights and the guy who made them but I wasn’t paying attention because I was kind of staring at his ass.

  85. this was a pretty hilarious entry, but from the intern perspective we were just incredibly pissed that we had to give your group a tour for free because you were supposedly ‘press’, and you all clearly didnt give a fuck about the art or the artwork.

  86. Well technically some of the people in our group actually were press and were very fascinated by the art. Unfortunately some of the people were just ridiculous satirists who clearly need to stop being invited to public functions. And those people were really just me. You can’t take me anyplace.

    (But to be honest, I did find the tour bafflingly fascinating and I have the Judd poster that I bought in your gift shop hanging in my office. I utterly adore Marfa simply for the fact that so many different people with such unique views can come together and be serious and ridiculous and pretentious and down-to-earth and strange and straight-laced amazingly multi-faceted and everyone can find a place to fit. That’s an amazing thing.)

  87. Marfa is where Giant was filmed – is the mock house front still there? That would be trippy and totally more interesting than that so-called art exhibit.

  88. Art is subjective. But that shit was not art by any stretch of the imagination…. Well, except for your last two photos of your porn shoot and the vogue-esque light enhancement. That is definitely art.

  89. “Then things started to feel kind of surreal…” Really? Only *then* did it start feeling surreal?

    On the upside, your photos are very artsy…have you thought of sending them some to place on their empty shelves? And to make things up to Choochie?

  90. I’m from Texas, and I have always been slightly scared of going to Marfa. I drove through it once. It looked like the type of place where people mysteriously disappear and aliens land.

    I also HATE art like the art you described. It’s like when you see a painting of a red dot (that you could have painted in kindergarten), and apparently there’s some hidden meaning that you are just too stupid to grasp. When REALLY what happened is some non-talented artist totally scored by convincing people (who are easily influenced and don’t want to appear stupid) that there is some brilliant meaning to their work.

  91. I have been to the Chinati Foundation and Marfa. I find Donald Judd’s art kind of boring (except it was pretty fun taking pictures of the way the light reflected off of some of the metal boxes).

    The Dan Flavin exhibit is interesting because there is pattern to the way the lights are arranged that you only notice if you look at them in the right order. I can’t remember what it is because it has been a while since I went there, but I remember thinking that it was really clever.

  92. You know, the first picture of the light fixture that was misplaced on the wall and then passed off as art? Yeah, they had one of those when I took my son to the Dallas Museum of Modern Art. Only the one in your picture is actually far more artistic, because it has the blue lights on the sides. The one we saw? It was a single bulb flourescent without a cover, strategically placed on a diagonal, with the cord plugged into an outlet just a little bit below. Thanks to this exhibit, my son can’t stand the idea of walking into an art museum. He is convinced that the people who run them are somehow mentally challenged.

    I don’t think the river of little green wrapped hard candies helped either. On a side note, it’s a bad idea to take a young child who doesn’t get candy very often to a museum who has a whole river of green candies that they aren’t allowed to touch, or eat, or swim in. Apparently, you get in trouble for that shit.

  93. The true art is how these people are able to extract money from us rubes for the awesome experience of staring at empty shelves, leftover building materials, poorly positioned lights, blue and sheets. But I’d of totally thought it was worth it if I’d been allowed to bury the dead fox while conducting some kind of Druid chanting burial ceremony.

    That, my friend, would be totally worth the price of admission.

  94. After reading the blog post and reading all the comments, I have to say that I think Mr. Judd’s work very much belongs in Marfa along with the alien lights. It’s about as much art as the truck headlights are aliens.

    Overall, too much of modern “art” is just a glorification of human rebellion. They rebel against following any rules that might dictate form and function, and so think themselves superior to the rule-bound. There’s room for simple line sketches and great frescos within the realm of art, but it should require some degree of talent the average person does not possess to create, and produce something at least surfacely identifiable. It’s okay to have deeper meanings not reaily apparent, but show me that you require skill to create it if you want me to judge you an artist.

    That said, as long as the Foundation is funded by private donation, they’re welcome to buy as much of it as they like at the expense of those who enjoy it. Just don’t spend any of my tax dollars on it.

  95. I really, really want to go out like this with you. There are two small art museum places just down the road from me. SECCA and Reynolda House. They are very uppity and I would think these things, but all alone, I’m not sure I’d say them out loud. I heart you, Jenny.

  96. My daughter sent me the link to this blog, knowing that I would enjoy your entry about the “art museum” in Marfa. She was right. I visited her in London this summer and was thoroughly mystified at what some people call art. It’s completely ridiculous. Thanks for helping me keep my smile in shape!

  97. Thanks for making me smile. I was thinking of retiring to Marfa ’cause it used to a quiet, unpretentious West Texas town. The “artists” have fucked it to Dallas. Imagine a meal for two costing over $100 in a town of less than 2000 people where the median income is $32000. Something has gone seriously wrong with this place. I contacted the Chamber of Commerce asking for relocation info. I made a rude remark about the aluminum cubes to a woman named Kaki (your Coochie?) and never heard from them again. Guess I’m not the type they are trying to attract – retired engineers.

  98. If you actually said all this to the docent, you are my hero. If you just made it up, you have a gift for entertaining fiction, because I laughed out loud. I absolutely hated Marfa, and especially the pretentious Chinati Foundation, a black mark on an otherwise wonderful trip to Fort Davis and Big Bend National Park.

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