Since 1991, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Monument to the Last Horse has stood at the center of the Chinati collection, a bit of cornball figuration amid arid transcendentalism, a testament to both the history of Fort D.A. Russell and to the friendship between Donald Judd and the two artists. In 2012, Chinati will undertake the restoration of this work, which has suffered from the 20 years of extreme weather.
In 1987, Judd invited Oldenburg and van Bruggen to Marfa with the hope of adding one of their works to Chinati’s collection. He pointed out a deteriorated concrete marker (presumably also desert-ravaged) on the grounds that designated the grave of Louie, the last horse of the former fort’s cavalry unit. As a gift to Chinati, the team created a work that referenced the site’s history.