Monthly Archives: June 2007

Prada’s Market and Marfa Store Sculpture

These days Prada isn’t just a name in fashion. The venerable Italian fashion house has its elegant fingers in several other pies including mobile phones and staging mammoth events.

Last month the label hosted one of the parties of the year in the city of Valencia in Spain to celebrate the America’s Cup. As principal sponsors of one of the participating yachts, Luna Rossa, Prada spared no expense at its lavish VIP do held at the Central Market which is normally home to a buzzing produce market.

The event attracted a slew of local and international celebrities who lapped up the unique ambience – organizers left a lot of the stalls intact including fruit stalls and delis, and guests were invited to sample the produce on offer. One deli housed the event’s DJ, who mixed tunes amid the Parma ham and anchovy tins, while other stalls where converted into mini showcases of Prada accessories; with belts and bags hanging from hooks as if they were pieces of fruit. In one deli stall Prada even displayed its silk turban range.

via TCH

In 2005, near the West Texas towns of Valentine and Marfa, a pair of Scandinavian artists, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, unveiled Prada Marfa, a sculpture masquerading as a Prada mini-boutique. Located along an isolated stretch of U.S. Highway 90, the 15 by 25-foot adobe and stucco building was partially funded by the Prada Foundation.

 West Texas has a history of faux-ruins. Beginning in the 50s, flatcars arrived from California carrying “Riata.” This huge prop became the plywood-thin mansion of Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in Giant. The mansard-roofed prop bravely weathered the West Texas climate for years. It’s last appearance was a cameo appearance in Fandango.

Then there was the Oasis Gas Station for the movie Dancer, Texas, pop. 81 and finally Contrabando – a complete faux-village built just north of the Rio Grande on highway 170 that has appeared in both US and Mexican movies – at least one of them named Contrabando.

But Prada Marfa takes the proverbial cake. Movie sets are meant to be art but seldom are they wry statements. Prada Marfa is (was) both.

It’s “Grand-opening” / showing occurred on October 1st, 2005. (My invitation was probably lost in the excitement of hurricane Rita.) When I first saw the photos of the sculpture – I knew that the glass windows and doorway probably didn’t see the sunrise of October 2nd. (Actually, the vandals took three days to arrive.)

The artists and supporters of this project knew this too. Made of earth-friendly earth, this biodegradable adobe building will slowly melt back into the landscape once the looters have removed the merchandise. The slow fade to oblivion will provide countless hours of conversation for motorists driving through West Texas. Starting with simple questions like “What the hell was that?” it’s sure to inspire more thoughtful dialogue – like “When is advertising art?” or “When is art advertising?” Or (for really long trips) “What is art, anyway?”

Via Luke Warm at Texas Escapes
More Prada Marfa pics from chacal la chaise

prăda (romanian-english dictionary)

1. to sack, to loot

2. (pe cineva) to rob, to strip

3. to plunder, to rob

4. mil. to pillage

5. (a devasta) to ravage

prad [prad]

–noun Australian.

Informal. horse.

[Origin: 1790–1800; metathetic var. of D paard horse (c. G Pferd) ≪ LL paraverédus post horse for lesser highways. See palfrey] Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

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Denny Dent

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Liz Gumbinner on Kurt Vonnegut

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

I know you would have had way more clever things to say about your own death than I, so out of respect I won’t even try.

But I did have the pleasure of meeting you once, back when I was about 15. I had just read Slaughterhouse Five and you asked me for my thoughts on it. My thoughts. A 15 year old. I don’t remember what I said–or, what really kills me, what you said–but the profound impression remained that you could be someone with so many brilliant things to say and still know you have things to learn. Even from a kid.

“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life,” you once said. “Old age is more like a semicolon.”

I’d like to think you lived like a big old exclamation point. You don’t get that just from farting around.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007
Liz Gumbinner’s original post at Mom-101

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Rebecca Woolf on Henry Miller

My Eight-Year Affair With a Dead Man

I fell in love with Henry Miller after the first paragraph of the first book of his I read. I was eighteen and preparing for my first trip abroad with my Nana, who, after my Grandpa Lou’s passing decided she would take each of her grandchildren on a fantastic voyage anywhere they/we wanted in the world.

I chose Europe, a place I had never been and pined for. We would start in Barcelona, journey then to Rome and take the Orient Express from Florence to Venice and then to Paris. I bought several books to prep for my trip, one of them being Tropic of Cancer, recommended to me by a friend who would years later become my boyfriend, then my fiancee, and finally, my friend again.

I opened the book and read the first few paragraphs: I read this:


“This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty… what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse…

To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing…”


Those words changed my life. Maybe they don’t sound like much but to me they meant everything. They meant freedom. They carved a hole in a future I felt ill-suited for. I decided, soon after to put off my collegiate aspirations, which I had forced upon myself. I wanted to sing.

“As long as I keep singing, I will find my song”, I told myself

I went to Europe with Tropic of Cancer ringing in my ears and Tropic of Capricorn under my arm. I couldn’t get enough of Miller’s prose, his twisted vision possessed me with such a wealth of inspiration I filled three journals in a single month. I came home from Europe with songs in my head– potential melodies and within a week, started writing my first book.

At the same time, I began collecting what rare editions I could afford. A first edition box set of the Rosy Crucifixion. Crazy Cock. Nothing But the Marvelous. I purchased an original Wynn Bullock photograph of Miller, smoking a cigarette and smiling out the corner of his mouth. It had been hand developed by the artist, a rare treasure. I purchased it from the Library in Big Sur after spending hours in the back room with Miller’s old manuscripts and a gentleman named Magnus, keeper of the treasures.

I took the photograph home with me in a cardboard portfolio and framed it above my bed in an old gold frame.

Divine inspiration…

I would(will) never be the writer Miller was, of course. I would never have the guts to spill onto the page in such a way. I could only be myself and every night I pushed, sometimes until sunrise, until it was time to go to work. It became an obsession. Keep singing…

And through dry spells, when I was overwhelmed, unable to write, tapping my pencil erratically, I’d take a Saturday and drive up to Big Sur and fill up. I’d park my car outside Miller’s old house in the Palisades, picket-fenced and trimmed with rose bushes, not even a mile away from the office I was working at at the time. I’d sit there in my car and I would write.

Find your voice… It’s okay if it’s off key, sometimes.

I kept singing.

Every writer needs a mentor. Mine just happened to have died before I was born.

If it wasn’t for him, I might have gone to college. I might have graduated and gone to work at a studio. Or left the country. There were many books that would later change my life, books like Lawrence Durrell’s Justine and Anais Nin’s House of Incest and Marguerite DurasThe Malady of Death.

But it was Henry Miller who made me want to be a writer whatever the cost. Who pushed me and pulled me and overwhelmed me with the power of his words.

Power I hoped to someday possess, if only for a second. If only for a page or a couple of words.

And as I gut myself for the pages I write in the book that this time will see the light of day, I hold on to that hope, and surrounded by the worn old pages of my greatest hero, I keep writing, pushing through the fear toward the possibility that by opening my mouth as wide as I can, I can find my voice. I can sing my song.

I am singing.


Rebecca’s original entry at her Girl’s Gone Child blog

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Archer and Henry Miller at the beach

Archer in his Henry Miller tee
Special thanks to Archer, Rebecca Woolf (Babble), and Liz Gumbinner (Cool Mom Picks)
Rebecca’s blog 
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