In Brief

Prada Marfa Saved from Possible Closure as Illegal Advertisement

"Prada Marfa" by Elmgreen and Dragset (photograph by Marshall Astor, via Wikimedia Commons)
“Prada Marfa” by Elmgreen and Dragset (photo by Marshall Astor/Wikimedia)

The Texas Department of Transportation has withdrawn its charge of illegal advertising against Prada Marfa, arts organization Ballroom Marfa announced in a public statement. A popular roadside attraction in the remote West Texas town of Marfa, the simulated Prada storefront — commissioned by Ballroom Marfa and installed in 2005 by the Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset — was threatened by the state of Texas under illegal advertising statutes in September 2013.

The scrutiny came last year after the shutdown of Playboy Marfa, a nearby installation sponsored by the magazine and ruled to be illegal advertising, according to the Texas Tribune. But Ballroom Marfa, a nonprofit, was able to reach an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by leasing the land under Prada Marfa.

In their release, Ballroom Marfa quotes TxDOT spokeswoman Veronica Beyer, who described the arrangement with the nonprofit as follows:

The site is now an art museum site and the building is their single art exhibit. As such, associated signage on the building is now considered to be an “on-premise” sign under state rules and does not require a state permit under the Highway Beautification Act.

Prada Marfa had more recently found itself in the spotlight for being defaced by a cryptic vandal who, as it happens, sought to turn the storefront into an unsanctioned advertisement for Toms espadrilles.

h/t The Art Newspaper

Correction: This article originally stated that Elmgreen & Dragset are British, which they are not. It has been corrected.

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