Tatler Travels: Exploring Prada Marfa With Jonathan Cheung
Earlier this year I travelled to Marfa, Texas with Dee Poon and other members of the Tate International Council. This tiny, isolated city in the Chihuahuan Desert may not seem like an obvious destination for a British institution to take an international group of arts patrons, but it’s actually long been a hotbed of creativity and a hub for the arts.
At the top of most visitors’ lists is Prada Marfa, a permanent installation of a lifesize Prada store—complete with real Prada products—that looks like it’s been dropped in the desert outside Marfa, just off Highway 90. It’s the first outdoor installation commissioned by Ballroom Marfa, a nonprofit supporting culture and the arts.
Another must-see is the Chinati Foundation, which acclaimed minimalist artist Donald Judd opened in the 1980s as a space to display some of his own large-scale installations as well as those of his contemporaries Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain.
The highlight was Judd’s installation of 100 aluminium boxes in a converted ex-military building that was part of Fort DA Russell. I visited on a beautiful day when the room was filled with sunshine, which is crucial to seeing how the work plays with light and shadow.
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Getting there: I flew Cathay Pacific to Los Angeles, then American Airlines to Houston. From Houston, we chartered a private plane to Marfa.
Days out of office: 7
Top tip: Check all opening times of galleries and restaurants carefully. Some of the sights are only open by appointment.
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