Donald Judd, Marfa, West Texas discussed on The Rich Roll Podcast


So this is my second visit. And I saw some things for the second time on this trip and some of them I remembered way that was true in some of the things I remembered differently than they were true. So there are a lot of spaces that can be productive for art. And sometimes art and artists go into places that other people don't want to be because it's cheaper. It's far away. For whatever reason, right? So Marfa is literally in the middle of nowhere. It's like not just far West Texas. It's like far, far West Texas. It's a solid. The first time I went there to be super transparent, we flew privately from Aspen, and I was like, oh, it's not far. You know? It's like so good. Right. Okay, this is for people that don't know. It's this place in the middle of nowhere and there's a bunch there's a couple buildings. It's not much, right? And everybody knows the Prada store that ends up on Instagram. Yeah. So there are two ways to get to Marfa driving. Okay. You can fly in privately. But it's an airstrip, and it's like the length of this table. So you can fly to El Paso, and it's a solid four hour drive going 90 or a hundred miles an hour. Okay, so it's not close to El Paso. But that's the closest hospital. It's also two hour and 45 minute drive from Midland, Texas. That's where I went. And the drive from Midland, Texas is through, I mean, oil fields and trailers. And it's a part of America that I haven't seen much of. And you're driving along the border if you're coming from El Paso and they're like the big blimps that are looking for people that are trying to cross the border. I mean, it's like harsh. It's set 5000 feet in elevation. So there's the altitude issue. And Donald Judd, who's really the father of minimal art, was looking for a place to live and work. And he had tried a lot of other places, including Santa Fe and some places in Colorado. And he had seen Marfa, while he was in the military while he was on a train that went through town. And these long boxcar trains still go through town every couple of hours. So 200 cars, the train engine, West Texas light at altitude. So it looks different. The light at altitude is different. So he bought up a bunch of military former military barracks, places that German prisoners had been held. And then he invited some of his friends to do site specific art there. So Donald Judd, Dan flavin, who's the artist that makes the work with fluorescent bulbs, John Chamberlain, who's the artist who makes the compressed cars sculptures, none of them are with us on the planet anymore. And because it's a Mecca, younger artists have moved there. And we're not even necessarily. I mean, they're younger artists, older artists. We went to Christopher woolf studio, the head of the chinati foundation, which is where the Donald Judd czar and the chamberlains and the flavins and the Robert Irwin, she said, you can find a Donald Judd behind every doorway here, but good luck finding a sandwich on a Monday. 1400 people live there. It's the poorest county in Texas. And it's just a place with a lot of dichotomies. And that's part of what makes it interesting. The light is beautiful. It's quiet. It's far from other places. And it's worth going to. The Prada Marfa that you're talking about. Was commissioned by the art production fund, and by the ballroom Marfa, and it's two artists elm green and dragsted. And it was their idea. And they actually were going to do Prada, Vegas, and then Avon force, who's one of the founders of the art production fund and said, no, no. I have a better idea. Prada Marfa, and it's been shot at. It's been the door was pulled off. People stole the shoes and the bags. And I don't know, some people love it now. They put up a fence around the back of it and people have put locks on it. One of the Paris bridges or but it's an unusual place. So yeah, it was a cattle town. And now it's, I don't know if I would call it an art Mecca, but it's definitely a place that draws functioning art commune where working artists are actually living there. Yeah, that's a little aggrandized. To what it is. It's a place where artists have found some like minded people and have now driven up the cost of houses because people went on Zillow to check when we were there. But I think it's pretty lonely and pretty isolated. And there's a little bit of a battle for the town, the soul of the town, I think. That's going on. Yeah, it's fascinating. There's something about it that is very resonant though. There's lots of artists communities around the world, but there's something about Marfa that really draws a lot of people in. And I kind of special intangible way. Yeah, I think anything that's hard to do makes something more interesting. So weeds out the looky lose, right? Because it's so difficult to get there. And I talked to the people that I brought with me and I said, you guys are art pilgrims. You know, you don't need me to take you to Miami, you know? I'll take you to in Ho Chi. In Brazil or I'll take you to Marfa, Texas. Let's talk about the NFT thing. So in addition to being kind of in the era of offense, we're also in the era of content in the era of ephemera. There's so much coming at us. You said art is about intent, but if everybody's putting all this stuff out into the world on some, you know, somewhere on the spectrum of this is art or this is just me sharing. Like, a, how do you make sense of all of that? I mean, who is to say, TikTok is an art. I don't know, like maybe you have a grip on that. But that begs the whole NFT thing now. So it's a very strange time where I feel like art is at this pivotal moment. And at the center of the conversation, about what the evolution of the Internet is going to look like and how we make sense of it. And so it sounds like from the way you described it, like you're kind of like, I don't know about all this, but you're slowly being lured in or converted to this idea that real art can exist on that plane. I mean, there's a difference between, I suppose, like what beeple's doing, like grabbing headlines for commanding these massive auctions. Or the board API club versus a bazillion JPEGs on open sea. So how do we make sense of all of that? Yeah. So when people are trying to understand something they often conflate things, right? And so you'll hear people talk about why NFTs matter because they'll say like, well, you know, an artist makes something and then it goes out in the world and then it resells and they don't get anything for it and this solves that problem. And I'm like nothing to do with the art though. At all. And that's like the blockchain, right? And that's about it. Which is cool. Super caring for artists out there. Totally. I'm all for that.

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