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Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert Hardcover – October 25, 2016
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"This book of modern interiors captures both the unique sense of place and the vibrant artistic community of Marfa, Texas, a mecca for art pilgrims, design aficionados, and international hipsters. The idea of 'a place where the demand to live for art is so compelling as to be unavoidable' might sound hyperbolic, but when readers see how these residents live, they'll understand."
"Thompson’s clear, brief essays describe how each homeowner arrived in Marfa—a nice contextual touch, given that it’s a remote place where residents and visitors have to decide very consciously to be. Her descriptions of plans, materials, and design concepts give heft to what could have simply been a lifestyle coffee table book. Photographer Casey Dunn leaves people and styling (extraneous food, flowers, and props) out of his shots, for the most part, which keeps the focus on design choices as well as the play of the desert light inside. The result is a visual page-turner and is clearly a result of Thompson’s reporting skills from her days at Metropolitan Home magazine. Marfa Modern serves as a primer on how a “watering hole” that [Donald] Judd put on the map has evolved without him, and lets it lay claim to importance as a place of vernacular design, not solely an art destination."
"Each of 21 houses showcases a different response to the landscape—from artful transformations of a former service station and a onetime jail to new builds with 360-degree views. Helen Thompson's brightly knowledgeable tone makes her a welcome guide, but Casey Dunn's 200 photos prove that the least expensive material—the light—remains key to each project's success."
"Marfa has grown to be an enclave for artists, chefs, hoteliers, and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Helen Thompson describes the architecture as intensely personal, an oddball mix of funky vibes with ultra-modern art: 'Each home is a site-specific construction that exists in the spirit of Judd's command to make art suit its space. In the best sense, the thoughtful creatives who have settled lately in Marfa carry on the tradition of Marfa as Donald Judd saw it—as a place where the demand to live for art is unavoidable and compelling.'"
About the Author
Helen Thompson is a nationally known writer whose areas of specialty include interior design, architecture, and food. She was formerly a food writer and editor for Texas Monthly magazine and the Texas city editor for Metropolitan Home magazine. She has also written and produced articles for Architectural Digest, Dwell, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, Traditional Home, Veranda, and many other magazines. She is the author of The Big Texas Steakhouse Cookbook and The Mansion on Turtle Creek Cookbook.
Casey Dunn is an Austin-based architectural and landscape photographer whose work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Dwell, Interior Design magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and Paper City.