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Hip West Texas town painted as one of the country’s best for art lovers

Hip West Texas town painted as one of country’s best for art lovers

Downtown Marfa Presidio County Courthouse
Marfa is on Travel + Leisure's recent list of the nine best towns in the U.S. for art lovers. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

As NPR describes it, the West Texas town of Marfa has evolved into a “mecca for art tourism.” And Vogue magazine has dubbed Marfa “America’s coolest art town.” Without a doubt, Marfa holds a prominent spot on the canvas of the art world.

Now, Travel + Leisure is chiming in with its own praise for Marfa. The magazine includes Marfa on its list of the nine best towns (all with 15,000 or fewer residents) in the U.S. for art lovers. It’s the only Texas locale to appear on the list. All nine towns “punch above their weight when it comes to art,” Travel + Leisure says.

“The minimalist artist Donald Judd is all but responsible for putting this remote desert town in western Texas on the map,” the publication says of Marfa, which is home to fewer than 2,000 people.

“Here, two foundations — the Judd Foundation and Chinati Foundation — comprise about two dozen buildings that focus on Judd’s work and legacy, along with installations of other contemporary artists. If you prefer female modernists, make an appointment to visit Building 98, where the International Woman’s Foundation is located.”

Judd, hailed by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) as “a landmark figure in the history of postwar art,” died in 1994. Judd split his time between Marfa and New York City. His homes in both places displayed installations of art by Judd as well as several of his peers.

Judd established Marfa’s Chinati Foundation contemporary art museum in 1986. It features large-scale art installations. The Judd Foundation preserves Judd’s permanently installed living and working spaces, libraries, and archives in Marfa and New York City.

“Judd’s deliberate installations, and the sculptures that he created, indicate that he considered space itself to be a material just as essential as the industrial surfaces out of which his objects were constructed,” MOMA observes.