Save Prada Marfa

save prada marfa

My love for Marfa is well documented. (As is Beyonce’s. ) Along with Palm Springs, the one-stoplight town is my favorite in the entire country.

Which is why I need your help.

valentine, texas; marfa, texas

Please help save Prada Marfa!

marfa marfa marfa

I’ll forever remember driving across country and stumbling upon the tiny town made famous by artist Donald Judd. On a long, solitary stretch of road in the middle of nowhere in West Texas, suddenly, like a fashion mirage, Prada Marfa appeared. We zipped past it before our minds could even register what it was. Desert mirage? We hightailed it into reverse, stopping before the structure, to realize it was, in fact, very real.

prada marfa installation

Well, sort of anyway.

marfa art

A public art installation erected in 2005 among the open landscape and enormous ranches of rural West Texas, Prada Marfa’s doors don’t actually open to sell its wares. Which is just one reason why it’s pretty genius. The landmark now acts as an unofficial town beacon of sorts (even if it is technically in Valentine, Texas). Locals — a mix of ranchers, farmers, artists and Austin and Brooklyn refugees — and visitors alike have embraced Prada Marfa for the past eight years.

prada marfa art; prada marfa photos; prada marfa photographs

Then along came this. Playboy, in an attempt to re-energize the fading Playboy brand and reach a younger, hipper audience, erected “art” of its own — a giant Playboy logo alongside a Dodge Charger poised on a raised platform.

Hashtag fail.

Like most Marfa lovers and locals, I was not a fan (to say the very least and to keep things ladylike), so when someone filed a claim to have it removed, citing that Playboy didn’t obtain a permit to have the billboard erected, I was relieved.

However, now that also puts our beloved Prada Marfa in peril, as eight years after its inception, the Texas Department of Transportation has ruled that Prada Marfa is not art, but an outdoor advertisement and ruled it illegal.

In an effort to benefit Ballroom Marfa, the non-profit that originally helped fund the Prada Marfa installation and continues to maintain it, artist Gray Malin has launched a never-released photograph from his Prada Marfa series to help benefit Ballroom Marfa in hopes of saving Prada Marfa. And, for one week only he is selling it for a deeply discounted price.

save prada marfa kelly lee kelly golightly

The 11″x17″ signed print, entitled Pondering Prada Marfa, will be sold on Gray Malin’s website Maison Gray, for $99 this week only, with 25% of the proceeds going to Ballroom Marfa to help raise awareness about the current law in place declaring that Prada Marfa is an illegal outdoor advertisement, as well as to support the organization’s mission to champion and fund similar projects and artists.


Gray explains: “Pondering Prada Marfa was selected to remind us that although art is supposed to ignite a conversation and force us to dig deeper, it is also for our pleasure and enjoyment. If the installation was torn down it would deny many people a chance to enjoy this incredible ‘pop architectural land-art’ installation. Through this photograph, we hope to bring back Ballroom Marfa’s mission to empower artists to create — art is for art’s sake!”

I’m with Gray: Let’s #savepradamarfa!

Help save Prada Marfa; get a fabulous photo! Who’s in?

You can purchase Pondering Prada Marfa through October 27th on Maison Gray.

[Top photo: Pondering Marfa by Gray Malin; all others by Kelly Golightly]

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