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A little take on Marfa’s culture clash

(Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman) A pilgrimage to Marfa is a must for any contemporary art aficionado.

The trek to the small high desert West Texas town to visit the Chinati Foundation — the singular art museum conceived from a 340-acre former Army facility by Donald Judd — becomes a qualifying badge of sorts, a way to let others know of one’s dedication to and appreciation of Judd’s heady vision of a place where as he wrote “contemporary art (can) exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be.”

The exclusivity of Chinati is undeniable: Marfa is nearly 200 miles from any commercial airport and about 80 miles from an interstate highway. And yet the disconnect between Chinati and its fashionable international visitors, and the longtime Marfa residents, remains profound.

It’s that disconnect that fascinates artist and art historian Josh T. Franco. And he pokes and probes those parallel communities in “Marfita,” the clever and slightly irreverent installation he’s created along with Alison Kuo and Joshua Saunders at Co-Lab Space.

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