Sunday, October 13, 2013

Prada Marfa

Photo from A.Addison's blog.
(Previously we told you about a piece of Playboy artwork in Marfa.  Well, that was only the beginning of Marfa's troubles with outdoor art.)
From the Huffington Post:

Prada Marfa, a destination for fashion, art and road trip-loving folks alike, might be closing up "shop." We use the term lightly, of course, since the West Texas storefront isn't a retail shop at all, but rather an art installation set up by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset back in 2005. The beloved Prada building is now being called out by the Texas Department of Transportation, which has deemed the structure as an "illegal outdoor advertising sign," the New York Times reports.

The main issue is that the Prada logo, prominently displayed on the 15-foot-by-25-foot "store," is considered a sign under state and federal law, thereby violating the 1965 Highway Beautification Act (even though technically Prada Marfa sits on private property). Between the countless numbers of Instagram and Facebook photos taken at the locale -- not to mention Beyonce's viral personal snap -- since its erection eight years ago, we're not really sure why lawmakers are deciding to act on this now (though the Times names a Playboy installation in Marfa as catalyst).

We are sure, however, that we'll miss Prada Marfa if the state decides on a forced removal. After all, Miuccia Prada approved (not commissioned) the project and picked out the 20 shoes sitting in the front window. The message Elmgreen and Dragset set out to convey with their installation, a commentary on the mushrooming influence of luxury brands and consumerist culture, is one that Miuccia herself subscribes to. "I'm completely against the idea that we do fashion for an elite," the designer, who has eschewed money-making, mass-market designer collaborations, has said. "That would be too easy, in a way."

Plus, Miuccia has a soft spot for the art world, integrating Surrealism components into her groundbreaking fashion collections and even commissioning a three-story slide from German artist Carsten Höller that runs from her window to the outside of Prada's Milan headquarters. We're sure Miuccia, along with the rest of the camera-happy travelers in West Texas, will be sad to see the art-meets-fashion monument go if Prada Marfa is torn down.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lubbock's Tattooed Jesus

According to Fox News on Oct. 10, there are 59 billboards around Lubbock, Texas showing Jesus covered in tattoos.

The billboards show Jesus wearing a crown of thorns with his arms outstretched. Across his bare chest and arms words such as 'outcast', 'addicted', 'jealous' and 'hatred' have been tattooed on his skin.

Needless to say, these billboards are shocking and offensive to some. However, there is an explanation behind the image.

Instead of insinuating that Jesus was tattooed, the group behind the billboards says it's part of a campaign to bring the message of Jesus’ love to everyone.

The aim of the billboards is to show how Jesus took on our sins on his body on the cross. Then after His death those sins were removed. However, it doesn't seem that way by merely seeing the billboards.

The billboards direct people to the website, where a video shows people coming to Jesus to have their sins cleansed.

During the six-minute video, a woman is seen having her tattoo of 'self righteous' changed to 'humbled' and a boy on crutches having 'outcast' changed to 'accepted' are among those who visit the tattoo parlor.

The video then shows the negative tattoos appearing on the body of Jesus, whose skin had been unblemished at the start of the film.

Jesus Tattoo Volunteer Jay Corner says:
There is controversy when our Lord and Savior was on this Earth, and one of the things He said and the things He did, and I know some people see this as a little bit of a controversy. What’s really cool about it is that it’s really a love story. As you get involved in it and you look at the video, I believe it draws you into that story.” 
The billboards are upsetting to many Christians living in the areas where the billboards are located because they see only the billboards without knowing the explanation behind them.

Some residents call the billboards blasphemous. However, David Wilson, pastor of Southcrest Baptist Church has praised its message:
"I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it's a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the gospel is about."
The group behind the campaign that put up the 59 billboards across Lubbock in the past nine days, say they are not trying to sell anything.

According to the Daily Mail, Ashleigh Sawyer, the group's spokesman, said: "The message is a simple one, Jesus's love is transformative. He loves us unconditionally and no matter what you've been marked with, faith in Him and love for others will transform us."

The group plans to extend its billboard campaign to other regions.

Unfortunately, people are reacting to the billboard alone without knowing it is an object lesson to a much deeper meaning. Perhaps the billboard was not the right method for this message.
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