July 10, 2018 at 12:52 AM CDT - Updated July 10 at 12:52 AM
Anum Valliani NewsWest 9
VALENTINE - The Marfa Prada art installation has a new look. Some vandals decided to put a pricey mark up of their own and it wasn't pretty.
Prada Marfa popped up in 2005 and since then has been more than just the talk of the town. Just this week, the art installment was severely defaced.
People around the town found the storefront defaced on Sunday morning. The pop art shop was plastered with posters glued to the windows and the sides covered in what we're told is toxic blue paint. Additionally, the awnings had items hanging on them and eventually got torn down and the back was completely tagged. On top of it all, there were quotes, song lyrics and artistic prose pasted all over. In short, there was some real work put into this job.
"I don't understand why people have to destroy something. I even understand a thief better than vandalism," Rocky Northrip, who's a teacher in Valentine, said.
Prada Marfa is a joint project with Ballroom Marfa and officials say Prada Marfa is a provocative piece that regularly invites diverse responses.
"And so that comes in the form of people taking snapshots, it also comes in the form of graffiti. It's far West Texas so people shoot at it," Daniel Chamberlain, Communications Coordinator at Ballroom Marfa, said.
But still, he said they encourage interaction with the installation and have gotten it, both positively and negatively. So this isn't new, just different.
"They never feel as much like an attack in such a way as this where the whole sculpture has essentially been hijacked," Chamberlain said. According to Melissa McDonnell Lujan, Deputy Director at Ballroom Marfa, the act was on an entirely new level of destruction based on the decision to use specific tools that deliver a more lasting impact. She emphasized how the brown glue remaining on the windows couldn't just be scraped away.
But many folks are lending a helping hand. People around the town were quick to come help with the cleanup particularly because much of the debris was flying everywhere. Tourists meanwhile still continued making pit stops at Prada Marfa, even though it wasn't looking its best.
"I'm sure they're going to get it restored and back in shape. What I really want is for them to catch the people who did it," Northrip said.
"It's definitely going to take more significant repairs than we're used to. It's going to exceed our annual maintenance budget," she said.
Marfa Ballroom's insurance is working to get a final cost for the fix up, they say it'll at least be $10,000.
"We're definitely not losing Prada Marfa. This is not a deterrence," McDonnell Lujan said.
Residents in Valentine believe the vandals struck sometime after Saturday night and before it rained early Sunday morning since there were no muddy tracks or other signs. It's still unclear whether one person was responsible or it was a collective effort.
However, one thing's for sure. Prada Marfa is going to be here for the long haul. The Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Office is still investigating this case. They haven't said much but they did say they've informed the owners and are waiting to hear back. Officials said they're also close to hashing out an agreement with TXDOT regarding their recent impasse on removing the installation because it was public advertisement.