The sign was featured for years on Gossip Girl, which is how most people might know it. Few have been there, although if you’re in Marfa to see the Judd Foundations many installations, this is on your to-do list, along with the Marfa Lights, which is a whole ‘nother thing. Well, “Prada Marfa”, has been vandalized with spray paint and the logo for the shoe company TOMS. The perpetrators left fliers that decried blasted TOMS for recent partnerships with high-end retailers. Far from being an actual Prada store, the sculpture on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, is itself a fairly obvious critique of the pervasiveness of luxury culture. I’ve been there and it IS ripe for vandalizing as there is not a soul around, even midday. But as such, it was always supposed to be vandalized says Yvonne Force Villareal, co-founder of Art Production Fund, which installed the sculpture:
“We loved this proposal for many reasons – that it will never again be maintained. 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.”
The piece has been vandalized once before, when shortly after its debut someone stole the shoes that Miuccia Prada had donated for the interior. And late last year, the Texas Department of Transportation said that the sculpture was an “illegal outdoor advertising sign” in violation of the 1965 Highway Beautification Act. This ruling was spurred by a new Richard Phillips piece just outside Marfa, which cropped up over the summer and received the same classification from the TXDOT. The Phillips incorporated a neon Playboy logo and was in fact paid for by Playboy, so it seems to be more of a commercial venture conceptually, although the artist knowingly participated, so… the artists that created Prada Marfa, Elmgreen & Dragset, have been unavailable for comment on the incident, so far.