It struck me driving through Phoenix, Tucson, but mostly El Paso. The Southwest is a haphazardly placed flatland of concrete and air-conditioning.You drive in a straight line for hundreds of miles and only occasionally come across cities. Here is the New Americana. It felt jarring–all of these neon signs and strip malls illuminate our shorter attention spans and our obligation to shop until we drop.
Elmgreen and Dragset’s seminal installation, Prada Marfa, is located 50 miles south of Interstate 10 in western Texas. The vastness of the land is panic inducing, you drive for hours with no mountains in sight; your only markers are abandoned buildings and roadkill.
The installation is a tourist trap for twenty-something artists, understandably. Like other pieces by this duo, this structure feels like a hauntingly frozen moment in time. Prada Marfa is itself a place that comments on the absurd qualities of the larger Southwest. What is luxury? Why is this structure here? Why is it already disintegrating? Why am I scared? And why do I keep thinking about this structure months later?