On Tuesday, Texas police arrested Joseph Magnano, aka guerilla artist 9271977, charging him with vandalizing Elmgreen and Dragset’s Prada Marfa sculpture, the WacoTrib reports. (An earlier report from artnet News includes comments from both parties.)
Magnano spoke with Dazed and Digital about the so-called vandalism, claiming, “There was no destruction here. Prada Marfa was just a canvas for TOMS Marfa. That’s how I view it one hundred percent, I stand by that and I believe in it. It was absolutely art and nothing else.”
He went on to explain further:
I started thinking about the environmental impact of TOMS and did some research. They aren’t local friendly, they’re not community friendly, all they care about is their bottom line. They outsource to China; they’re just smart business people that promote themselves differently. They’re evangelical with their methods too, so I wanted to challenge what their company is all about. I wanted to swap one brand for another and make people think about American consumerism.
The artist-cum-vandal, who was initially pulled over by police for a missing license plate, has been charged with arson, vandalism, and criminal mischief. When Mangano learned that Elmgreen and Dragset characterized his actions as “cowardly and vain,” he was disappointed:
I’d thought they’d see see the message. He said I was being opportunistic and he was right: I was. I knew this could get attention round the world, but I wanted to use it to open a conversation about something else. . . . I thought that we were both saying the same thing. Nine years ago, Prada was the right brand to be an anomaly in the middle of the desert, but now we live in a TOMS culture. All this guy seems to care about is being iconic, he isn’t actually interested in the re-orientation of things.
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