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Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016. | © 2016 Philipp Scholz Rittermann, Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation.
Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016. | © 2016 Philipp Scholz Rittermann, Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation.
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Robert Irwin Art Installation Stands Tall In Marfa, Texas

Picture of Aubrey Cofield
Updated: 7 September 2016
Robert Irwin, a California-based artist, stretches past his comfort zone to install his first freestanding structure in Marfa, Texas. The unveiling of Irwin’s permanent installation at Marfa’s Chinati Foundation took place July 23rd. In this large-scale artwork, Irwin plays with light and space in order to transform a dilapidated hospital.
Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016.
Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016. | ©2016 Philipp Scholz Rittermann, courtesy of the Chinati Foundation.

Once an old railroad town, Marfa has blossomed into an art destination, attracting people from all around the world, though the majority of visitors flock from within Texas. With renowned artworks, galleries, and other art establishments dotting the landscape, Marfa almost feels weirder than the capital, which might explain why many Austin natives are often seen enjoying the town’s art, music, and fashion. Marfa’s boom is largely thanks to Donald Judd, a minimalist artist from New York who moved to the tiny town and founded The Chinati Foundation, which recently opened Robert Irwin’s 10,000-square-foot U-shaped installation.

Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016.
Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation exterior, 2016. | © 2016 Philipp Scholz Rittermann, Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation.

In viewing the structure, visitors will notice oddly shaped windows perfectly placed to see the clear Texas sky, and thick walls with varying shades of color on each side.

Irwin uses the structure to manipulate what is already there – he makes architectural decisions based on the given space and natural light provided in his surroundings. He once said, ‘I tried to respond directly to the quality of each situation I was in, not to change it wholesale into a new or ideal environment, but to attend directly to the nature of how it already was.’

Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation interior, 2016.
Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk), installation interior, 2016. | ©2016 Philipp Scholz Rittermann, courtesy of the Chinati Foundation.

Focusing on human thought and how abstraction is formed through the mind, Robert Irwin is influential in his own right. Represented by Pace Gallery since 1966, the 87-year-old artist currently resides and works in San Diego. He will be honored by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) at the 2016 Art+Film Gala on October 29th.