Marfa, Texas, may be small in terms of geography, but it’s big in the art scene. Boasting numerous art centers and exhibitions, the tiny west Texas town has seen an influx of renowned artists making the desert oasis their hometown.
Beginning next spring, the municipality will host the Marfa Invitational art fair, founded by Kenneth Bauso and local artist Michael Phelan. Phelan moved to Marfa from New York in 2005, and is thrilled to bring the big city art experience to a place he says gives artists and admirers room to breathe and fully embrace their work.
“I was really interested in seeing and viewing artists outside of the commercial context of New York and L.A.,” Phelan told Art News. “When you’re in Marfa, it’s really this kind of immersive experience where you have time to look at the works. What I wanted to create with the fair is a similar model.”
The Marfa Invitational will feature 10 galleries—both fledgling and blue-chip—each one presenting one artist from their choosing. While the exhibitor list has yet to be released, Phelan and Bauso are looking at dealers and galleries who have a presence in major art centers like New York, Paris, London, Austin, and San Francisco.
The Marfa Invitational is just one of many art experiences you can experience in town. Marfa is home to the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary arts center built atop an old Army base that features both indoor and outdoor installations. You’ll also find the Ballroom Marfa, a nonprofit space for artists; Greasewood Gallery, a home for regional artists; the Marfa Studio of Arts, which offers art classes to children and teens; and the Judd Foundation, which gives the public access to artist Donald Judd’s living and working spaces; plus many other galleries.
The Marfa Invitational will take place April 4–7, 2019, at the Hotel Saint George’s Saint George Hall.