Prada Marfa

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Driving along the baron, dusty expanse of Texas Interstate 90, the mundane scenery is pleasantly interrupted by something unexpected, a high-end boutique; a Prada store in the middle of nowhere. Boasting posh stilettos and handbags, patrons will never be able to get their hands on these luxury Italian goods, as the site is, in fact, not a functioning store the work of Berlin-based artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Erected in 2005, Prada Marfa functions as a site-specific, permanent land art, as well as a piece of Pop Art, utilising an iconic brand to encapsulate the period in which it was created. To gain critical understanding of Prada Marfa, one must analyse the social context in which it was created. Using Janet Wolff’s theory …show more content…
J. Clark, believe it is the product of historical and cultural practices. More specifically, she believes that the dominant social ideology during its unique time period directly affects a work of art (Wolff 1993, 50-53). It is in fact dominant ideology that plays a particularly important role in the conception of Prada Marfa.

The genesis of Prada Marfa began in New York City, 2001. Elmgreen and Dragset were practicing artists in the arts neighbourhood of Chelsea, and began noticing that art galleries were being priced out designer stores. In response, they created an installation at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, papering over the downstairs windows with a sign proclaiming ‘Coming Soon, Prada’ (Haden-Guest 2005, Edelson 2005). Commenting on the work, Dragset said:
At the time, Comme des Garçons was already in Chelsea. We were pointing toward something that eventually would happen. Art and the fashion business go hand-in-hand with the gentrification process. The artists often come first and then the designers (Edelson
…show more content…
Since 1993, Miuccia Prada and her husband and business partner, Patrizio Bertelli have owned and managed Fondazione Prada, a nonprofit contemporary arts foundation that supports and exhibits emerging artists (Ryan 2007, 9). As Nicky Ryan notes in her article, ‘Prada and the Art of Patronage,’ Prada has also seated itself within the avant-garde world through numerous collaborations with artists such as Tom Sachs, Andreas Gursky, and architect Rem Koolhaas (Ryan 2007). It therefore would come to no surprise that the brand would be open to a collaboration with Emgreen and Dragset. Considering that the piece is critical of luxury merchandising it would seem paradoxical that Prada would be so cooperative with the artists. On the contrary, Miuccia Prada supports and acknowledges the artists’ vision, and perhaps it is through appreciation for the arts that she recognises that Prada Marfa functions not just as a critique on the fashion industry but an important work of

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