Prada puts small Texas town on the map

Marfa is home to modern art, the Marfa lights phenomenon and a Prada store. Yes, a Prada store is located off U.S. Route 90 in the middle of almost nowhere in Texas. Surprising, is it not?

This store, known as Prada Marfa, is a permanently affixed sculpture created by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, known collectively as Elmgreen & Dragset. Although this piece of minimalist art was inaugurated on Oct. 1, 2005, Elmgreen and Dragset installed signs with the words, “Prada, Coming Soon” on the windows of a Chelsea Gallery years before. Little did everyone know that Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen, owners of the nonprofit organization Art Production Fund, with aid from Ballroom Marfa, would be funding this project.

Built on a desolate strip of U.S. Route 90 in West Texas, the piece is made strictly from adobe bricks, plaster, paint, glass panes, aluminum frame, medium-density fiberboard and carpet. It is made to resemble an actual Prada store, but this sculpture will not be maintained while it is present in this rural area of Texas. The artists are aware that the biodegradable adobe will eventually melt into the land and that there may also be vandals who may ruin the property. The artists hope to show the growth of luxury brands, while promoting the temporal relevance of fashion.

“If someone spray-paints graffiti or a cowboy decides to use it as target practice or maybe a mouse or a muskrat makes a home in it, 50 years from now, it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made,” Villareal said.

This sculpture store features an array of handbags and shoes from Prada’s fall/winter 2005 collection. It is said that these pieces were handpicked by designer Miuccia Prada.

Unfortunately, it took only three days for the sculpture to experience vandalism when the building was broken in to. Six handbags and 14 right-footed shoes were stolen, while the building was spray-painted with the words “Dumb” and “Dum Dum.”

Despite the goal of no maintenance to this building, the art was quickly repaired and replaced with new Prada handbags and shoes. This time around, the handbags did not have bottoms and were placed on an alarm system so that authorities would be immediately informed in the event of another theft.

This $80,000 building is a sincere project by its artists and by art foundations to promote fashion even in areas where fashion may seem like a thing of the future. Even though Texas does not have a flagship Prada store, it has made the home of Prada Marfa attract many minimalist artists and tourists from all over the nation.

1 Comment

  • Makes sense.

    The famous 1956 Warner Bros. film GIANT, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Sal Mineo, Carroll Baker and Dennis Hopper, was filmed in Marfa.

    One of the most famous movies ever made in what is now one of the most famous movie towns.

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