Robert Irwin Artwork

The former Fort D.A. Russell hospital building was constructed in 1921 and served the army until 1946. This now-dilapidated structure sits within a field of wild grass, mesquite, and cactus across the road from the museum's main campus.

In 1999, Chinati invited Irwin to create a work for the site of the former hospital building. The building and the land were given to Chinati with the specific intention of having Irwin develop a proposal for the site.

The building is approximately 10,000 square feet on four acres - an extended U-shaped construction, with all the three wings lined on both sides with windows. In the center is a large open courtyard.

Camp Marfa Hospital, 1919 and Fort D.A. Russell Hospital, 2007

The importance of the project for Chinati and Marfa

When Chinati inaugurated the Dan Flavin project in 2000, the museum witnessed a dramatic increase in both awareness and attendance. Visitors from across the United States and abroad began to understand that something special was happening in far west Texas.

Marfa has grown in culture (a sophisticated bookstore, film festival, theatre, public radio station as well as other thriving non-profits) in the wake of Donald Judd and Chinati. The addition of a new and permanent work by Robert Irwin will support the continuation and expansion of this development that has made such a huge impact on the region.

The work also opens up a new dialogue between two important artistic generations — Judd's and the group of West Coast based artists that came of age in the late 1960's (often referred to as "light and space" artists), a group that explored the phenomena of perception, and were deeply influenced by the formal rigor of artists such as Judd and Dan Flavin, who directly preceded them.

Donald Judd collected Irwin's work and expressed an early desire to see Irwin represented in the collection he was assembling in Marfa at Chinati. Given Irwin's recognized achievement in creating what he calls "site conditional" works-art made in direct response to architecture — presenting a work by Irwin on the site of the former military hospital, and repurposing the space as a vehicle for perception, fits most appropriately into Judd's mission for Chinati.

Construction of Robert Irwin's project for Chinati began in June, 2015. The completed work - untitled, (dawn to dusk), 2016 - will be inaugurated in Marfa on July 23-24, 2016.

PROGRESS: 2013-2016
  • October 2013

  • Jenny Moore, Chinati's Director, and Robert Irwin at the hospital site during Chinati Weekend 2013

  • July 2015

  • Construction mock-up for the Robert Irwin project. A full-scale detail, approximately 10 feet square, has been constructed to serve as the guide for important aspects of the finished building - window and door openings, exterior and interior plaster, concrete floor, entry court elements, retaining wall and roofing details.

  • July 27, 2015

  • Video of the concrete slab, the first of three for the Robert Irwin project, poured on July 27th.

  • July 30, 2015

  • Shot from the site's southeastern corner showing the first slab being water-cured, with the second being prepared for reinforcing steel.

  • August 13, 2015

  • Images of slab and mock-up installation.

  • September 10, 2015

  • October 2, 2015

  • Robert Irwin at Chinati.

    Robert Irwin with construction crew at Chinati.

  • October 16, 2015

  • October 2015

  • Robert Irwin at Chinati, working with Laddie Flock and construction crew to place basalt columns in the central courtyard.

  • November 3, 2015

  • November 19, 2015

  • November 21, 2015

  • Placed basalt column formation in the central courtyard.

  • December 19, 2015

  • December 21, 2015

  • January 7, 2016

  • February 4, 2016

  • Installation of steel in courtyard.

    Robert Irwin's completed installation at the Chinati Foundation will be inaugurated in Marfa on July 23-24, 2016.