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Marfa Modern Talk + Book Signing … Just What is the Magic of Marfa?

BY // 10.10.16
photography Casey Dunn

Marfa, the isolated high-desert town in West Texas that’s famous for being famous, is the unlikely locale for an internationally renowned contemporary art culture. Minimalist artist Donald Judd, who moved there in 1971, is credited with igniting the Marfa obsession, and through the decades, artists, architects, interior designers, curators, and gallerists have flocked to its secluded fold.

Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert’s modernist bath house.
Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert’s modernist bath house.

This month, a new book, Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert (Monacelli Press, $50), provides a glimpse into how Marfa’s unusual, unexpected creative class lives and designs. Former Metropolitan Home editor Helen Thompson and Austin-based photographer Casey Dunn — a frequent contributor to PaperCity — spent two years shooting 21 houses in Marfa.

Judd’s stringent standards for spare and beautiful architecture, furniture, and interiors seem to have influenced the dwellings, which incorporate humble local materials. Many are ingenious conversions: a defunct Texaco service station, a former jail, and Houston designer Barbara Hill’s sleek space, which was recreated from a dance hall. Others took Judd’s lead by converting warehouses into homes, while hotelier Liz Lambert (Hotel San Jose in Austin) refurbished Marfa’s 1950s-era Thunderbird Hotel and created El Cosmico nomadic hotel and campground with tepees, tents, and yurts. Houston architect Carlos Jiménez designed a spectacular ranch house situated on 2,000 acres; as well as Marfa’s chic new Hotel St. George, and penned the introduction to this stunning book.

Please join us Thursday, October 20 atop the Wilshire High Rise at River Oaks District, as Marfa Modern author Helen Thompson, moderates a panel discussion of the magic of Marfa. Cocktails and talk 6:30; book signing 7:15.  Books will for sale at the event, rsvp@papercitymag.com. Hosted by The Wilshire, Sudhoff Properties, Pelican Builders and PaperCity.

Rice Design Alliance is sponsoring its third trip to Marfa, led by Rice School of Architecture professor Carlos Jimenez and architectural historian Stephen Fox, February 9-12, 2017, $2,100 per person, double occupancy, airfare included. To reserve and for more information, contact Linda Sylvan, 713.348.3288, sylvan@rice.edu.

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