Tag results for: USA

Donald Judd in Marfa

Readers, you know we love Marfa, the quirky town in West Texas sixty miles from the Mexican border, Marfa, where artists and ranchers, shopkeepers and railroaders are anything but square.

Today, March 1, a retrospective of the art of Donald Judd—who made Marfa his home, studio and gallery for the last seventeen years of his life—opens at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It will explore

…the remarkable vision of an artist who revolutionized the history of sculpture…and emphasize the radicality of his approach to art-making and the visual complexity of his work.

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Upper Muley Twist

Not often do I swear in my diary.

But twice I see “G. Damn” in my entry for Upper Muley Twist Canyon, curses aimed at our guidebook and the National Park Service.

“We walked for hours and never came to the Rim Trail. 20.6 kilometres and no Rim Trail! Anyway, we survived and it was beautiful. The stillness. Absolute. The chill. Deepening. The Light. Lingering. Bed. Beckoning.”

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Leaving Las Vegas you might, like us, miss the turnoff sign for Seven Magic Mountains. But you can’t miss seeing them—ginormous, 30-35-foot-tall neon-painted totems towering in the barren desert looking like massive stacks of florescent marshmallows.  One of the largest land-based art installations in the US in the last forty years. Worth the U-turn for Rove-Inn.

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“Everything starts with Chaco,” writes archeologist Steve Lekson.

Chaco: built in the northwestern corner of New Mexico between 850-1150 AD—the most advanced civilization in North America until the nineteenth century. Chaco: never before had semi-nomadic people built anything of this scale—200 great houses, some the size of the Roman Coliseum. Chaco: constructed in astonishing alignment, like a celestial calendar—a truly astronomical feat accomplished without the telescope, the wheel or a written language.

Scholars at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are still debatingChaco’s grand purpose. Was Chaco a religious centre? Military base? Government capital? Pre-Columbian shopping mall? Gambling domain?

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It’s a banner year for the Grand Canyon—a national park since 1919 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for 40 years. This iconic park attracts six million visitors annually, most of them “cone-lickers” according to Brian, our guide when Magellan and I hiked there. Brian estimates 98% of visitors buy an ice-cream cone, peer over the edge and climb back into their air-conditioned SUVs. Not us. We hiked to the bottom, to Havasu Falls, ten miles in the canyon’s deep.

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It was early evening by the time we arrived, our hopes of getting a campsite diminished given that Natural Bridges Campground is highly desirable and has only thirteen spots. “Campground Full,” the sign read.

“Let’s drive in and see if there’s a space,” I said. “This is the nicest campground for miles. And we want to be near the trailhead for tomorrow.”

“That’ll be a waste of time,” Magellan said. “But we might as well, given how far we’ve driven to get here.”

And wouldn’t you know it? Campsite eight, small and a cactus-spike length from the neighbours on both sides, was free.

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