Prada, the Italian luxury-goods house, has plenty of impressive stores—in Milan, Paris, around the world. But its most exclusive is a 15-foot-by-25-foot adobe building in the Chihuahuan desert, 35 miles northwest of Marfa. It contains six bags (without bottoms, to discourage theft), twenty shoes (the rights only, for the same reason), and hundreds of dead flies (thieves, help yourselves). Since opening in 2005, it has also drawn thousands of tourists, including, last summer, Beyoncé. She was not allowed entrance. This store is so exclusive that its door is always locked.
That’s because Prada Marfa is not a retail store but a permanent installation by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Scandinavian artists based in Berlin. It is also, at the moment, the center of a controversy.
Nearly eight years after opening, Prada Marfa has been