With Davy Crockett’s more famous quote in our minds we hopped on a cab to La Guardia, then on a plane to Atlanta, followed by another plane to El Paso; two planes, one airport car rental and twelve-and-a-half hours later, we arrived in the middle of nowhere and into a Twilight Zone episode about a giant art gallery that had mysteriously appeared in the desert. Was this a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity, or just another sleepy small time Texas town? The answer was left open to our imagination. We had three days to find out and not a moment to lose.
Episode 1 – Prada
Marfa’s charming weirdness extends beyond it’s boundaries. Just off US 90, about 26 miles northwest of the town, expect the unexpected.
Prada Marfa is a permanent installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset.
Built in 2005, with the intention to let it fall into decay, it has since been broken into, its contents stolen (the very night it was completed), vandalised, graffitied, created controversy when Playboy erected a 40-foot-tall neon bunny nearby, attracting the attention of the Texas Department of Transportation, became an Instagram sensation and reclassified as a museum, with the Prada Marfa as its only exhibit.
Both the bunny and Prada Marfa were considered illegal advertisements according to the 1965 Highway Beautification Act and the reclassification of the structure as Museum would exempt it from the signage rules. The bunny has since been removed.
Episode 2 – Marfa
Tough to Get Here. Tougher to Explain. But Once You Get Here, You Get It.
Marfa Visitor Center, inside the Historic USO Building.
Episode 3 – The Notable Features
The Hotel Paisano, aka headquarters for the cast and crew filming Giant in the summer of 1955.
The Art Deco Palace Theater, aka Marfa Opera House. Later, it became a movie theatre but has been closed since the 1970s.
The Marfa Water Tower and the Presidio County Courthouse. Both can be seen from almost everywhere in Marfa, since they are the tallest structures in town.
October 6th, 2018