February 18, 2021 at 12:56pm

The new arts center will be within miles of the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd’s private museum. Photo: John Cummings/Wikipedia.

Michael Phelan, founder of the two-year-old insider arts fair Marfa Invitational, is planning to open an arts foundation by that name in Marfa, Texas, this fall, the New York Times reports; the arts fair will be rebranded simply as the Invitational. The Marfa Invitational will be open year-round, and will host a variety of events across disciplines, including art installations, performances, film and video screenings, fashion shows, and talks. It will occupy an exhibition space comprising twin pre-engineered steel structures, each with 150 feet of aluminum and glass doors that can be rolled up to give visitors an open-air experience. Currently being fabricated in El Paso, the halls will be assembled in Marfa and will together encompass 15,000 square feet.

Phelan, a contemporary artist who has lived full-time in the town since 2014, began work on the project before the Covid-19 pandemic, making his decision to allow the exhibition halls to open to the elements seem prescient, and also prudent, given that the region typically offers some of the most pleasant weather in Texas. The facility is to be located within miles of the Judd Foundation, Donald Judd’s former living quarters and studio, and the Chinati Foundation, Judd’s private museum, both of which have historically been major visitor draws to the little town, whose population barely nudges 2,000.

Visitors to this year’s Invitational—which, owing to the cancellation of the 2020 version owing to the pandemic, will be its second iteration and is still scheduled to take place in April—will be able to tour the still-under-construction site, which will at that time be hosting its first display, of work by interdisciplinary artist JPW3.

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