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News: TAAK Summer School – Marfa, Texas

“From May 26 to June 14 2014, 20 students fromDutch Art Institute, the Sandberg Instituut/Gerrit Rietveld Academie and California College of Arts (CCA) will stay in Building 98 in Marfa, Texas. During the second edition of Summer School Marfa they will explore this town in the high desert in West Texas, the impressive landscape and the legendary works of Donald Judd. For three weeks they will expand contemporary discourses, social practices and politics in art. By creating a unique experience they will gain an understanding of the dynamics and social impact of art in public spaces. 

Marfa was built during the Texas oil boom in the late 19th century. During the Mexican revolution (1910-1915), the US Army established a presence in the outskirts.  The army maintained a presence during World War 2. During the war, German prisoners of war were housed at the Fort Russell where they obtained expansive murals of West Texas Living. In 1973 Judd moved to Marfa. He realized several large-scale artworks that are inseparable from the desert landscape and commissioned his contemporaries to develop art works in a former military fortress. Due to the presence of the Judd Foundation and the Chinati Foundation, Marfa became one of the major art hubs in the U.S., a place where the art world meets and the cultural industry is thriving.

Supervised by tutors from the participating institutions, students examine the natural – and cultural historical and sociological meanings of the area. They analyze the different actors in the transformation of the area and will critically relate to the value and importance of public art in this specific context.

The curriculum is built up around three different program lines;

– A deep reading of the work and writings of Judd, the impact of his legacy on contemporary art, Marfa and the meaning of preservation.

– An understanding and experience of the desert landscape, the impact of climate change and land use on it’s ecology

– The socio-political history and present of the town that nowadays provides a home for high art landscape and headquarters of National Security.

During Summer School Marfa many subjects related to the conflicting ideas and issues that arose with Judds arrival in Marfa and with his legacy will be researched. These subjects include: the history of the area, the border, the Mexican-American war, the geology, geography, psychogeography of the region, the specifics of the town government as well as a structural examination of the Judd – and Chinati Foundation, the expanding of the US border Patrol and the local Latino history.

Participants of Summer School Marfa: Gerrit Rietveld Academie/ Sandberg Institute, Curdin Tones; Dutch Art Institute, Renee Ridgway en California College of Arts, Shaun O’dell. New partner: ARID, A Journal of Desert Art, Design and Ecology. 

This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.”

[TAAK, Amsterdam]

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