Marfa is one of my favorite places, so naturally, Donald Judd is one of my favorite artists.

The first time I saw his work was at his Spring Street location in New York. A massive showcase in one of my favorite buildings in SoHo, if not in all of Manhattan. (I’m starting to wonder if my love of his work is more about context...) It was then I knew I had to see his work in that beautiful Texas desert landscape.

The minute I moved back to Houston, Texas my friend and I took a trip to Marfa. It was love at first sight.

I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about Marfa that makes me swoon. This tiny Texas town of about 2,000 residents is a 3 hour drive from the nearest airport, and an 8 hour drive from Houston, one I’ve gladly made a handful of times now. It’s far enough where it hasn’t been ruined by sprawl, yoga studios and juice bars, condos and art cafes. It is not built to be a photo op (except maybe Prada Marfa). But it is beautiful at every angle. The colors of the building facades against the desert are something to be experienced. The hand painted signs and typography, oh man. It’s far enough that if you want to go to Marfa, you really want to go to Marfa. It’s something we’re not used to these days, a true escape and genuine attention to where we are at the moment. There’s not much to do there, and that’s what makes it so great.

There’s a mysticism there that adds so much to the experience of solitude and escape. The skies are dark enough to see the Milky Way at night. The sunrise and sunset play with the light and landscape of the desert. That’s why Judd’s installations work so well here (you forgot this post started with him didn’t you?)

He hated when his work was referred to as minimalism, but it’s those clean lines, colors and materials used that play so well with the landscape of Marfa. It’s his attention to detail and deep intentions that make his creations work so well in their space. He thought about what he was making and what purpose it would serve in the space around him. “Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface,” he wrote. Maybe it’s why I associate him with his surroundings. Ah it’s all coming together. As a designer and … user of things I pay money for, intention matters. To experience a Dan Flavin as bedroom light, and Frank Stella as a piece of art on his own walls is truly a special way to experience art. It’s all in context, it’s all part of the same story.

One of his pieces was the inspiration for this site. Judd and his spaces represent a sense of purpose for me. Spring Street is an oasis in the middle of high transactions and traffic. Marfa is a true escape. I could go on for hours, but I hope his attention to authenticity and purpose for the things around us inspires you as it inspires me.

A few snapshots from various trips to Marfa for some context. Planning on a better way to do this in the future. Talk about intention and purpose!