Mission & History
The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati is a contemporary art museum based upon the ideas of its founder, Donald Judd. The specific intention of Chinati is to preserve and present to the public permanent large-scale installations by a limited number of artists. The emphasis is on works in which art and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked. As Judd wrote in the foundation's catalogue:
It takes a great deal of time and thought to install work carefully. This should not always be thrown away. Most art is fragile and some should be placed and never moved again. Somewhere a portion of contemporary art has to exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be. Somewhere, just as the platinum-iridium meter guarantees the tape measure, a strict measure must exist for the art of this time and place.
The Chinati Foundation is located on 340 acres of land on the site of former Fort D.A. Russell in Marfa, Texas. Construction and installation at the site began in 1979 with initial assistance from the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The Chinati Foundation opened to the public in 1986 as an independent, non-profit, publicly funded institution. Chinati was originally conceived to exhibit the work of Donald Judd, John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin. The collection was expanded and now includes 15 outdoor concrete works by Donald Judd, 100 aluminum works by Judd housed in two converted artillery sheds, 25 sculptures by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist's work is installed in a separate building on the museum's grounds. Temporary exhibitions feature modern and contemporary art of diverse media.
The Chinati Foundation sponsors art and education programs, establishing close links to the local community and other cultural institutions and universities in the United States and abroad. Started by Judd, Chinati's Artists in Residence Program provides artists from around the world an opportunity to develop and exhibit their work in a stimulating environment. Chinati's Internship Program offers students from a variety of disciplines hands-on museum experience. Each summer the museum hosts art classes for local students. Chinati produces an annual newsletter in English and Spanish, and every October, Chinati hosts a festive annual weekend focused on the museum's collection and programs.Brief History of Camp Marfa and Fort D.A. Russell, by Susanne Grube