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Prada Marfa is not a Prada and not in Marfa

One of the objects most photographed by visitors to Marfa, Texas, is Prada Marfa. Intriguingly, Prada Marfa is not a Prada store, nor is it anywhere near Marfa.

Erected in 2005, Prada Marfa is a modern art installation along U.S. Route 90 a few miles northwest of Valentine, Texas, making it about 40 miles away from Marfa. It was apparently built of some biodegradable adobe-like substance that would slowly return to the earth, thus providing a critique on the nature of contemporary materialism. Or something. I didn’t major in art interpretation.

However, it was vandalized shortly after it was installed, and its contents from the Prada Fall 2005 collection were stolen. After the vandalism, the sculpture was completely restored and new security systems installed. It seems to me this would negate the intended social commentary. Irony on top of irony.

I first passed Prada Marfa on my way to Marfa, but I flew by it quickly. I knew the work existed, but I was expecting it to be closer to Marfa. Actually, I was thinking I had to pass through Marfa to find it. However, on my way home, I left myself some time to pull off the road and take some photos. Other than the sculpture and the small town of Valentine, there is nothing else but cattle ranches for miles in any direction.

For what it’s worth, the reflection in the store mirror is of yours truly.