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Prada Marfa is a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, situated 2.3 km (1.4 miles) northwest of Valentine, Texas, just off U.S. Route 90, and about 60 km (37 miles) northwest of the city of Marfa. The installation was inaugurated on October 1, 2005. The artists called the work a "pop architectural land art project." The sculpture, realized with the assistance of American architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, cost US$80,000 and was intended to never be repaired, so it might slowly degrade back into the natural landscape. This plan was deviated from when, three days after the sculpture was completed, vandals graffitied the exterior, and broke into the building stealing handbags and shoes.  Sculpture Designed to resemble a Prada store, the building is made of "adobe bricks, plaster, paint, glass pane, aluminum frame, MDF, and carpet." The installation's door is nonfunctional. On the front of the structure there are two large windows displaying actual Prada wares, shoes and handbags, picked out and provided by Miuccia Prada herself from the fall/winter 2005 collection; Prada allowed Elmgreen and Dragset to use the Prada trademark for this work. Prada had already collaborated with Elmgreen and Dragset in 2001 when the artists attached signage to the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York City with the (false) message "Opening soon - PRADA". Prada Marfa is located relatively close to Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation. The minimalism of Prada's usual displays that are mimicked in this work play off the minimalism that Judd is known for as an artist. The sculpture was financed by the Art Production Fund (APF) and Ballroom Marfa, a center of contemporary art and culture. Along a ledge that runs around the base of the building, hundreds of people have left business cards, weighed down by small rocks.  Vandalism A few days after Prada Marfa was officially revealed, the installation was vandalized. The building was broken into and all of its contents (six handbags and 14 right footed shoes) were stolen, and the word "Dumb" and the phrase "Dum Dum" were spray painted on the sides of the structure. The sculpture was quickly repaired, repainted, and restocked. The new Prada purses do not have bottoms and instead hide parts of a security system that alerts authorities if the bags are moved.  References 1. ^ a b Wilson, Eric. "Front Row; Little Prada in the Desert". The New York Times. September 29, 2005. Accessed March 23, 2010. 2. ^ a b Jodidio, Philip. Architecture Now! 5. Taschen. 2007. Slovenia. ISBN 978-3-8228-1810-7. p. 202. 3. ^ Mendelsohn, Adam. Stealing the Show. Artforum. October 2005 4. ^ a b c d Novovitch, Barbara. "Vandal Hated the Art, but, Oh, Those Shoes". The New York Times. October 8, 2005. Accessed March 23, 2010. 5. ^ Beal, Daphne. "In Marfa, Texas, Minimalist Art and Maximum Flavor". Boston Globe. November 22, 2009. Accessed March 24, 2010.Hunan Chinese Restaurant (University Mall)
I haven't eaten at this place in years, but Hunan Chinese Restaurant is still almost exactly as I remember it from college, and presumably the same as it was when it opened in the '70s. This place has some serious old-school charm. __________ University Mall is a shopping center in Blacksburg, Virginia adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus at the intersection of Prices Fork Road and University City Boulevard. Opened in 1974, the original enclosed mall contained about 250,000 square feet of retail space and was anchored by Woolco and Roanoke-based Heironimus, with Kroger on an outparcel across the street. During the 1970s and much of the 1980s, this was the hottest retail address in the New River Valley. The center featured a strong mix of regional and local tenants including Mills Fabric, Ritz Camera, H&M Shoes, John Norman (menswear), Sidney’s, The Sickle Moon, Dana (all three were women’s apparel stores), Printer’s Ink bookstore and Peoples Drug. Even Woolco’s closure in 1983 didn’t cripple the place; Roses quickly moved in to replace it. What did take this place down was the opening of the New River Valley Mall in neighboring Christansburg in 1988. Though the anchors stayed in place, the small shops inside the mall largely closed or moved. In the early 1990s, both anchors folded and Virginia Tech took over their spaces for various university services and a branch of the University Bookstore. During this time, People Drug became Revco and then CVS and the mall interior slowly filled back in with various local businesses. In 2004, the mall was sold to a group of local businessmen and plans were made to eventually donate the property to the Virginia Tech Foundation, the mall’s primary tenant. During this time, the interior of the mall received its only renovation. Its tile and concrete floors were carpeted. The globes of its pole lights were changed, and the mall was painted. Two large mobiles were placed over its pair of fountains, which have were thoroughly cleaned. On the exterior, the south end of the mall was expanded and heavily renovated with a parking garage and multistory office building added next to the intersection of Prices Fork Road and University City Boulevard, along with an outparcel for Panera Bread. Though the center is almost fully tenanted now, the interior mall remains a well-preserved relic of 1970s retail design. Many storefronts are still original and substantially all of the interior decor from 1974 is still here. Even the CVS is still here, largely unchanged from its days as a Peoples Drug.
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