Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Laurie Zuckerman just returned from her latest photograph journey to the mission churches and cemeteries in West Texas. Despite the 400-year history of Spanish and Indian settlement along thie Mission Trail in El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, I found the churches to be much less decorative and distinctive than the churches in Northern New Mexico. The oldest of the churches is in Juarez, but it was closed the day I walked across the border. Had to settle for some beer and guacamole and helado on a stick.

As far as the cemeteries in this region, I was even more disappointed. The graves were not particularly unique from a folk art standpoint and the level of vandalism was the worst I have ever witnessed. I managed to get just a few photographs of any note. The most unique cemeteries were actually far afield in the towns of Terlingua, Lajitas, and Study Butte, all neighboring Big Bend National Park. The Terlingua ghost town cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and was truly decrepit, but the locals tell me it is cleaned up and decorated annually for the Day of the Dead.

Also took the tour in Marfa of Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation, and decided once and for all that minimalism is not my game. I did appreciate, from a found object assemblage standpoint, John Chamberlain's junked car part sculptures. Marfa, Texas may be the up and coming "Santa Fe" of West Texas, but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

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