By Manolo the Shoeblogger
Manolo says, here is article from the Houston Press about the vandalism at the Prada Marfa.
Actually, the store sat right where it was intended to sit. But it didn’t last long in its unlikely environs. Just two days after the opening, someone broke in. The front door was smashed, and all the shoes and handbags inside vanished. In their place, two spray-painted messages appeared on the store’s exterior: “Dum Dum” and “Dumb.” The day after the crime, police began an investigation. Security stickers were tacked to nearby fence posts. An alarm system was installed, and sheriff’s deputies were brought in to protect the store at night. The building was repaired, and a new shipment of luxury goods was on the way.
In all the hubbub, it was easy to forget an important fact: The Prada store wasn’t a store at all. It was a $100,000 permanent art installation by Berlin-based artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, meant to comment upon Western affluence and gentrification. The door was never intended to be opened. Viewers were meant to stare through the windows at the goods inside but never handle them. The artists had asked Miuccia Prada to donate goods for display, and she had hand-picked six purses and 14 right shoes for the project.
The show’s funders knew the facade wouldn’t last. They were even quoted in The New York Times saying they expected vandals. “If someone spray-paints graffiti or a cowboy decides to use it for 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,” said Yvonne Force Villareal, president of the Art Production Fund in New York. But they had hoped it would decay with time — not, apparently, overnight.
Down the road, vandalism might not have been such a big deal. “The fact for us is it happened quickly, too quickly, without any time for the art to exist,” said Art Production Fund co-founder/director Doreen Remen. Which is why the decision was made to clean up the mess, bring in new shoes and bags, and get security.
E-mailing from Berlin, the artists insisted they hadn’t expected vandals or an alarm system. And they didn’t expect the level of animosity the project generated.
The break-in brought a lot of attention to the installation. Gallery-hoppers in Marfa started scanning eBay daily, awaiting the re-emergence of the stolen goods, while Jeff Davis County Sheriff Tom Roberts told the local press he was on the lookout for a one-legged woman with a taste for high fashion.
Ha! The Sheriff he has the sense of the humor.