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Chinati is building the only freestanding architectural structure designed by artist Robert Irwin and devoted exclusively to his art.
Chinati is building the only freestanding architectural structure designed by artist Robert Irwin and devoted exclusively to his art.
567 backers pledged $101,130 to help bring this project to life.

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$101,130

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Robert Irwin at Chinati

At the site of the former hospital of Fort D.A. Russell, Robert Irwin is creating an ambitious new artwork for the Chinati Foundation's permanent collection. Recognized as one of the greatest and most influential living American artists, Irwin engages the act of perception, shaping light, shadow, and space into powerful works of art. Upon completion in summer 2016, the Robert Irwin building at Chinati will be the first and only permanent installation of its kind designed by Irwin and exclusively devoted to his art. 

Construction of Robert Irwin's building in Marfa began in June, 2015. The museum plans to inaugurate the installation in July, 2016.

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"The minute you turn off I-10 and start driving this way: The sky changes. It’s amazing. Every day is like a new event. The sky is everything.”-Robert Irwin, quoted in the January 1, 2016 New York Times feature on this project

Irwin's design features his expressive shaping of natural light, shadow, materials, and space. The building will feature a sequence of windows with a view of the surrounding West Texas fields and sky, treated with a grey tinting material to allow more or less light into the space. Transparent scrim walls will further capture the incoming and always changing natural light.

Animated assembly diagram of the Irwin building
Animated assembly diagram of the Irwin building
Interior detail, Robert Irwin building in progress, January, 2016
Interior detail, Robert Irwin building in progress, January, 2016

Outside, in the central courtyard, the artist has designed a beautiful garden which will further integrate the indoors with the outdoors. It will be a space of contemplation for the public to enjoy under the wide-open, always-changing far West Texas sky.

Robert Irwin viewing the courtyard in progress
Robert Irwin viewing the courtyard in progress

The Courtyard

Robert Irwin has created gardens and outdoor spaces, working with plants and the landscape for over thirty years, at sites including The Getty Center and Dia: Beacon. At Chinati, the artist has designed an outdoor space for public enjoyment, with native desert grasses, gravel pathways, and a canopy of palo verde trees that will provide shade and bloom with bright yellow flowers in the summer. It will be a place where visitors can further experience Irwin's intention "to make you a little more aware than you were the day before of how beautiful the world is."

The project's architectural plan, below, illustrates the building's c-shaped footprint, forming the space for a central courtyard. Walkways circulate both around and through Corten steel planters containing the trees, with a formation of basalt rocks selected and placed by Irwin at the center. 

Architectural plan
Architectural plan
Palo verde trees, selected by Irwin, will be placed in Corten steel planters throughout the courtyard.
Palo verde trees, selected by Irwin, will be placed in Corten steel planters throughout the courtyard.
Courtyard in-progress, detail with basalt rocks and Corten planter.
Courtyard in-progress, detail with basalt rocks and Corten planter.

Our Goal

Robert Irwin designed the outdoor courtyard at the center of his artwork for the public to share and enjoy. Once completed, it will exist as a place of beauty and contemplation. As the courtyard will be an open space for all, we're giving everyone the opportunity to be a part of realizing it for future generations.  

Chinati needs $100,000 to complete the courtyard. Our Kickstarter goal is to raise $75,000 or more. You can join our effort to build a unique and extraordinary space at the center of Irwin's new artwork for Marfa by contributing in any amount. 

Featured Rewards

Video by David Fenster. Music: "The Wind in High Places: Maclaren Summit" by John Luther Adams, all rights reserved; used by permission. Recording available from Cold Blue Music. Images copyright Robert Irwin 2016/Artist Rights Society and Judd Foundation/VAGA. Photos by Florian Holzherr, Alex Marks, Aurora Tang, and Douglas Tuck. Time-lapse footage and footage of Robert Irwin by Triptych Films.

Risks and challenges

Chinati is committed to sharing its entire collection, including the forthcoming Robert Irwin building and courtyard, with the public. Museum attendance has grown rapidly over the past five years, and is expected to increase further with this new addition to the permanent collection. Chinati will continue to explore ways to best serve the public and meet the challenges of operating in the small, remote town of Marfa, Texas.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    MARFA SKY REPORT
    The skies of West Texas are extraordinary, with shifting sun and shadow over the high Chihuahuan desert plains, and provide inspiration for Robert Irwin's permanent artwork at Chinati. Pledge $5 and receive a link to an ongoing series of images of the sky over the Irwin courtyard. Plus, your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    COMMEMORATIVE POSTCARD
    A specially commissioned 4x6” image capturing the light of the West Texas sky and commemorating the grand opening of Irwin’s permanent installation at Chinati, posted and mailed to you from Marfa with a hand-written thank you. Plus, a subscription to the Marfa Sky Report and your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    VIRTUAL IRWIN TOUR
    Contribute $25 and join Chinati’s director, Jenny Moore, for an exclusive, virtual tour of the completed Irwin building. Plus, a subscription to the Marfa Sky Report and your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT
    Chinati's classic t-shirt, produced in a limited edition commemorating the opening of the Robert Irwin building this summer. Available only to Kickstarter donors. Adult sizes XS - XXL. Plus, a subscription to the Marfa Sky Report and your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    GRAND OPENING POSTER
    Chinati is producing a special edition poster in commemoration of the dawn to dusk opening of The Robert Irwin building, taking place Saturday, July 23, 2016. Pre-order now with a $50 contribution, exclusively through Kickstarter. Plus, a subscription to the Marfa Sky Report and your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    PREVIEW THE CONSTRUCTION SITE
    Review our progress on the courtyard. Chinati’s director, Jenny Moore, and associate director, Rob Weiner, will host coffee and a discussion at the building site on Sunday morning, March 13 at 11:00 am. Plus, your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter. (Limit 100)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    VISIT MARFA
    Admission for four to a public tour of Chinati's entire permanent collection, including our special exhibitions and the completed Robert Irwin building. Plus, your name listed as an Irwin supporter on the Chinati website and in the museum’s annual newsletter.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    IRWIN MONOGRAPH
    Receive a copy of "A Conditional Art," the forthcoming monograph on Robert Irwin by Matthew Simms, signed by the author.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING
    Pledge $500 and receive a limited edition, 18x24 inch schematic plan of the Robert Irwin project, printed on vellum.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    SUNSET AT THE IRWIN BUILDING
    A private experience for two people at Robert Irwin's new installation at Chinati. View the work with the effects of changing light and shadow as the sun goes down. Enjoy sunset in the finished central courtyard among the native trees and desert grasses.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    PRIVATE, FULL COLLECTION TOUR WITH SUNSET AT THE IRWIN BUILDING
    A private tour of Chinati’s entire permanent collection and special exhibitions with one of our knowledgeable and friendly museum docents. Includes admission for up to six people and ends at the Robert Irwin building for a special sunset viewing.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    CELEBRATE WITH US IN MARFA
    An exclusive thank you for our major donors on opening weekend, July 22 & 23, 2016. Join us as we honor Robert Irwin and celebrate his new permanent work for Chinati. Includes an invitation for two people, with a special preview of the work and reception with the artist in the new courtyard on Friday evening, July 22.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    CHINATI OVERNIGHT
    Spending an extended period of time on Chinati's 340-acre, high-desert campus, especially at sunrise and sunset, is a remarkable encounter with artist and founder Donald Judd's unique vision. Exclusively for our highest level Kickstarter donors, enjoy this special experience of Chinati with a pledge of $10,000. Includes overnight accommodations for two people, with breakfast in the museum library and a sunrise tour of Donald Judd’s 100 works in mill aluminum with Chinati’s director, Jenny Moore. Dates subject to availability with advance reservation.

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Funding period

- (30 days)