The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas by Donald Judd

The following text and images are from The Chinati Foundation, located on the outskirts of Marfa, Texas.

The Chinati Foundation/La FundaciĆ³n Chinati is a contemporary art museum based upon the ideas of its founder, Donald Judd. The specific intention of Chinati is the creation and preservation of permanent installations of large scale works, or large groups of work by a small number of artists. The emphasis is on installations in which art and the space around it are inextricably linked.

At the center of the Chinati Foundation's permanent collection are 100 untitled works in mill aluminum by Donald Judd installed in two former artillery sheds. The size and scale of the buildings determined the nature of the installation, and Judd adapted the buildings specifically for this purpose. He replaced derelict garage doors with long walls of continuous squared and quartered windows which flood the spaces with light. Judd also added a vaulted roof in galvanized iron on top of the original flat roof, thus doubling the buildings' height.

The fifteen concrete works by Donald Judd that run along the border of Chinati's property were the first works to be installed at the museum and were cast and assembled on the site over a four-year period, from 1980 through 1984. The individual units that comprise each work have the same measurements of 2.5 x 2.5 x 5 meters, and are made from concrete slabs that are each 25 centimeters thick.

The Arena was built in the 1930s as a gymnasium for the soldiers at Fort D.A. Russell. After the fort closed in 1946, the gym floor was torn up for the wood, and sand was laid to provide an indoor arena for horses. In the mid 1980s, Judd restored the building, which was in terrible condition. For aesthetic reasons he left the long strips of concrete that had originally supported the wooden floor, and filled them in with gravel. Some concrete was necessary for walking, so Judd poured a large area by the kitchen at the south end, and a smaller area at the north end of the building's interior.