Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Prada Marfa Update: Restoration Underway

17 Feb 2015

Prada Marfa Repair 4

Restoration is underway at Prada Marfa, as Deputy Director Katherine Shaugnessy reports back with these photos from outside of Valentine. The work on Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation will continue over the next few weeks as we replace the awnings and glass that were damaged in the 2014 site vandalism.


For more information on Prada Marfa — including an official clarification of our policy regarding its maintenance — take a look at our Prada Marfa Explainer.

Prada Marfa Repair 5

Prada Marfa Repair 3

Prada Marfa Repair 2

Prada Marfa Repair 1

BREAKING: Prada Marfa is Saved!

12 Sep 2014

Boyd Elder surveying the property.

After a series of productive negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation, Prada Marfa is officially saved. The official statement from TxDOT’s Veronica Beyer is below. More details coming from Art Production Fund,Ballroom Marfa and Elmgreen & Dragset next week!


As of February 1, 2014, the Ballroom Marfa Foundation, a domestic nonprofit corporation, has leased the property on which the building stands. 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.

The lease is currently being reviewed, but with the execution of the lease,

the complaint file will be closed.


Ballroom Marfa is immensely grateful for the outpouring of support that we’ve received for Prada Marfa. To read more about Elmgreen & Dragset’s iconic sculptural installation, please visit our official Prada Marfa Explainer.

For more background on the TxDOT decision, see Juan Carlos Llorca’s story for the Associated Press.

If you’d like to support Ballroom Marfa as we continue to maintain the Prada Marfa site, and as we embark on even more inspiring and provocative public art projects, please become a member today! Click here to learn more.

Who’s At Ballroom Marfa This Week?

3 Jun 2014

Brooke Hampshire, Rebecca Carroll, Lizzy Méndez, and Melissa Repko

Brooke Hampshire, Rebecca Carroll, Lizzy Méndez, and Melissa Repko

In bringing back our feature, “Who’s At Ballroom Marfa This Week?”, I got to speak to Brooke Hampshire, Rebecca Carroll, Lizzy Méndez and Melissa Repko on a busy Saturday afternoon this Memorial Day weekend. The four friends from Dallas were on a tour of Far West Texas, and stopped by Ballroom to check out Sound Speed Marker on their way to Prada Marfa, Big Bend National Park, and beyond. Despite spending only two nights in town, these gals were able to regale me with a bunch of “only-in-Marfa” stories.

Ballroom Marfa: Why did you want to come to Marfa?
Brooke Hampshire: I’ve wanted to come for the last decade…I’ve actually always wanted to visit Big Bend, and…friends of mine in the past have come for the art scene so it just worked out.
Lizzy Méndez: I only knew about the Prada thing and I was like, yes! I mean, when else am I going to be able to see that?
Rebecca Carroll: I’ve always just heard about the art… how unique the town was and that it was very eclectic and everybody had their own thing going on… I thought it was kind of like a cool little reclusive area where it was off the grid so that’s pretty cool.

BM: How did you feel about the work that you saw here?
RC: I really liked Movie Mountain (Méliés). I wish we had more time to sort of sit down and watch the whole thing. The two-screen experience…I’m more of a video art person, it’s a lot of what I did in college. I like the exhibit, it’s movie-oriented, and I like that it’s dedicated to all these separate parts, dedicated to one idea.
LM: It’s also just Texas art, which is cool. You can’t get that in, like, New York City.

BM: What’s been the highlight of your trip so far?
RC: We’ve had many. [laughter]
LM: We had like a 16 hour day yesterday, and we did…we walked to like the edge of town, which is just kind of nuts, because it’s four blocks, and it turns into just like a ranch, and you can see [everything], which was awesome… We did the star party, which was amazing.
BH: Yeah, it was amazing.
LM: We very randomly ended up at [Marfa Public Radio], they were so friendly.
RC: Yeah, we’d gone to the NPR studio, and they took us around and gave us advice and directions on what we should do.
LM: They gave us stickers and we bought t-shirts.
RC: …You asked for a highlight, I don’t know which one of those was the highlight.
LM: It was just a great day.
RC: Yeah, overall, it was sort of a package deal. All of Marfa was a highlight.

Vogue on “The Evolution of Prada Marfa”

29 Apr 2014


Photo: Thessaly La Force

Vogue‘s Thessaly La Force and Katherine Bernard recently visited Prada Marfa (post-vandalism) with friend of Ballroom, Alec Friedman. La Force recounts her experience of the work and discusses its continued evolution.

An excerpt:

“The installation was initially meant as a sort of an experiment,” Elmgreen & Dragset explained recently (the two were in Hong Kong for the opening of a new show at Perrotin). “We really wanted to see what could happen if one would make a fusion of pop and Land art. It was also meant as a comment on branding and consumerist culture.” The sculpture was announced in the fall in The New York Times. “We loved the idea of the piece being born on October 1 and that it will never again be maintained,” Villareal told Eric Wilson of the Times. “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.”

But since then, Prada Marfa has become such a target for vandalism that the spirit of the sculpture has changed. Within days of its unveiling in 2005, a thief broke the windows and ran off with the loot. The bags were replaced with GPS trackers, and their bottoms were cut out to discourage further theft….

In a way, this all seemed manageable until earlier this March, when a serious act of vandalism wrecked the sculpture. Prada Marfa was haphazardly splashed in blue paint on either sides; its awning was slashed; and the vandal tacked on incomprehensible signs with a strong adhesive glue that ruined the storefront’s Plexiglas….

When we arrived at Prada Marfa, it was disappointing to behold the damage. The slashed awning and the smears of brown glue on the windows diminished the elegant spectacle it had once been—we walked past the blue-painted adobe walls and peered at the preserved handbags and the shoes. But it was still, in a way, strange beauty in the middle of the desert. And so we posed, like everyone before us, and hopefully everyone after. Later, I would find this quote from Miuccia Prada: “Nostalgia is a very complicated subject for me. I’m attracted by nostalgia but I refuse it intellectually.” But whatever it is—Prada Marfa has its own life now. “It has turned into something beyond our control,” Elmgreen & Dragset said. “And that is the best thing an artist can experience. As artists we are only here in order to trigger a debate, to provide platforms for other people’s interpretations.”

To continue reading, visit Vogue.

If you would like to learn more about Prada Marfa, please read Ballroom’s updated Explainer.