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On the Street

Oh Marfa, Marfa, Marfa...

(Aka The Free Carrot and Wine Chronicles, West Texas Style)




We pulled into town at sunset and followed the mysterious lights to these two intriguing buildings.  Luckily for me, I had been indirectly invited to stay for the night.  These two homes are built by San Antonio architects Candid Rogers (on the left) and Beto Isunza (on the right.)  At some point these two buildings will be featured in Dwell magazine I'm convinced.  



Like a captain's cabin of a Danish sea ship.  Outside, the vast expanse of nothing.  Inside, warmth and tranquility.

(This is the loft space of the building on the left, a cantilevered structure clad in a material I believe called "Cor-10", which rusts to a wonderful red orange.)



Another view of Candid's house.  The rusted metal isn't apparent in this foto due to the angle of the sun.



In the distance - the Marfa courthouse, German-tongued art nomads, Upper East Side gallery owners, and quite possibly free carrots and wine.



More mystery lights.  A football game between Marfa and Ozona.  Amid the invasion, old life went on and kids still hung out by the DQ while trying to bird-dog chicks.  It may have been homecoming because I saw a sign in front of a house advertising mums for sale.



"Some time ago a publisher told me that there are four kinds of books that seldom, if ever, lose money in the United States—first, murder stories; secondly, novels in which the heroine is forcibly overcome by the hero; thirdly, volumes on spiritualism, occultism and other such claptrap, and fourthly, books on Lincoln,"
H.L. Mencken (1922)




The train rails in the middle of the gallery arrested my attention.  Outside the Judd buildings, this seemed to be one of the larger independent spaces.



Installation?  Reference to the film Giant?  A remnant from the obliterated past?



At Tillery Gallery down the street towards the Thunderbird and the tracks.  I thought of the rumored missile silos in nearby Alpine.  Tall tales abounded over the weekend.



More military surrealism.



On a table in front of the previous two paintings was this journal full of dinosaurs getting it on.  I can't remember the connection.



Still Friday night.  This was still at a place called Tillery.  DJs and video projections but no carrots nor wine...



We then biked over to Teatro something or other.  It was an annex to Marfa Ballroom.  There were posters of various rock shows all over the walls.  



The notorious rabbit rouser laid claim to a hutch at a gallery at the river's edge.



Hours later the sun came up.  Perhaps my most dramatic awakening yet.



In the chronology of events this is where the foto of Candid's house actually was taken.



Mobile food vending follows me everywhere.  I heard they sell hummus and falafel. But by the time I came back the line was already around the block and I had already committed to a fixed price breakfast at the Brown Recluse.  A total gouge.  $15 for eggs, coffee, and beans.  Yes, it was good but they could have had many more customers with a less ridiculous pricing scheme.  Rumors of a change in ownership also abounded.


Patrolling the cosmos.  

Art and immigration living in wonderful disharmony.  Sounds like the tale of two Marfas as we know it.




At first I thought this might refer to anti-Mexican immigration or even anti-artist immigration. Instead, it's against the building of a highway to push Mexican trucks and commerce through here.



Soon I would be burnt and dehydrated.



Infrastructure begins.  Probably a great place for 5 year olds to network.



From the name of a character out of a Dostoevsky novel, supposedly.  Proto-existentialist from the beginning.



The road towards Fort Davis.  I rode by bike out this far but then turned back.  



A wall where I sat exactly 3 years and one day before.  I was passing through from LA not knowing about Open House.  With a friend we boiled water and ate dehydrated split pea soup and then got out of town.  I believe jazz bassist William Parker was performing that night at the Ballroom.



Deer blinds become minimalist cubes, or is it the other way around?



The front window to a Upper East Side style corner store called Get Go.  Lots of quality items inside.  Too much to fathom.



Here, a view inside Beto's house.  Minutes earlier the poster on the wall went up.



A signature bike I found outside the Judd Compound.



A reference to the German prisoners of war from WWII?  Another tall tale was that due to the Geneva Conventions German prisoners captured in North Africa in the Rommel campaign had to be held in a similar climate so Marfa was chosen.







There were thousands of John Ford-esque moments.



The lines were blurred in this building.  Though it could have been a faux finisher's masterpiece, the walls seemed original but the artwork not.  These whimsical paintings were a welcomed counterpoint.



A ship on the horizon.  At first I thought it was Lajitas or Big Bend but that was naive.




The barracks and buildings on the Judd Compoud stretched on and on.  Europeans were everywhere. There's a wiff of a fairy tale in this image.



The Compound.



Next door some dudes from Lubbuck pulled up with a truckoad of art.



The infamous Camp Marfa compound, a former officer's quarters and home to German prisoners.  Also a few U.S. Presidents slept with various prostitutes here, supposedly.  What happens in Marfa, stays in Marfa...



A military leader that lent his name to the former compound.



Perhaps the best part of the Camp Marfa show.



Back downtown at Gallery Urbane, I believe.



San Antonio's Peter Zubiate set up shop in Marfa in a wonderful old adobe building on the west side of town.





The Judd home.  Supposedly, a real open house to his home but not quite.  I'll be honest, I felt a bit cheated.  I wanted to get a sense of life beyond boxes but that wasn't to be.



Was this a bedroom?  I wanted to go in the kitchen and library but it was closed off.



The courtyard of the Judd residence.  Thoughts of Paul Bowles began to surface.



Saturday night was a free bbq dinner on the main street.  Excitement was in the air.



As was rain.  Panic, chaos...



Various ways to stay dry were employed.








These two women must have been locals.  The rain emboldened them.



As it waned, brave pioneers ventured out for 15 minutes of fame.  Sadly, no streakers.



Food was served.



Mariachis and cherry pickers worked in harmony.



Looking west along the tracks.  The Amtrak Sunset Limited travels these same tracks.



A gallery by the post office I hit on the way back from the free dinner.





A tall bike outside the Sonic Youth show.  NYC style.  Various people would get nicknames, at least I assumed.  There was the dude on the tall bike.  The bald guy on the bike that looked like Moby, or at least his cousin Toby.  The dude wearing a kilt.  The dude will tall socks and a mesh shirt.  It goes on and on...



It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be but enough for me not to get close.



The side offered a view glimpses.



And then it ended, with more mysterious lights.  A fitting way to be sent back to the magnetic pull of the big city.

And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio Marfa.  As always, to be continued...


Posted by Mark Jones on 10/9/2007
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