In Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie, there’s a short scene where a man describes the regions of Texas. He goes on easily about the “People’s Republic” of Austin, “the carcinogenic coast” of Houston, the snobs of Dallas, and the flat ranches of West Texas. Then he pauses and says with a nonplussed expression, “‘Course, I left out the Panhandle, and a lot of people do…”
What IS in the Texas Panhandle, and why is it such a mystery? Last month, Christina Rees and Brandon Zech set out to chronicle this chunk of Texas that deserves more credit that it gets for the visual art riches in its towns and high plains landscapes. Their travels took them to the 140-year-old jail that’s been turned into a rare gem of a museum; a legendary Robert Smithson artwork in the middle of nowhere; and our favorite museum in Texas that most people have never heard of. Watch the video below.