Target Marathon, another roadside attraction
By SARAH M. VASQUEZ
MARATHON – The first photo popped up on Instagram this past Thursday morning. A small cinderblock railroad building adorned with recognizable red bull’s eyes and black letters that simply say TARGET.
While the display for the big box chain store was a welcoming sight for those craving more consumerism in isolated Far West Texas, residents who expected more nearby shopping options will be disappointed: the small building is another faux store.
So far no one has claimed responsibility for the installation that has been dubbed “Target Marathon,” a play on the name for the widely popular art installation in Valentine named Prada Marfa. It can only be speculated that the “Target store” along US 90 between Alpine and Marathon appeared in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
While photos appeared on social media throughout the day, it was a photo posted around 9:30pm later that night by the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department that went viral. The photo has since been shared over 700 times and has garnered just as many likes. Media outlets also shared the photo, many with the headline “Move over, Prada Marfa. Make room for Marathon Target,” but little else has been shared about how or why it exactly happened. Time may tell if anyone comes forward as the creator.
The only clues at the little building included the words “where are u!” written on a wall and a spray can with a piece of paper taped over it that says “F-ck off spray. 9.99. Reserved for Nathan.”
It makes sense the comparisons with Prada Marfa were immediately drawn to the small pop-up. Both include a familiar brand name on a building along US 90 and in front of the train tracks in the middle of nowhere. Unlike the response the former installation Playboy Marfa received when it arrived in 2013, most of the reaction for Target Marathon has come from amusement with a little added bewilderment.
The two commissioners and producers of Prada Marfa – Ballroom Marfa and Art Production Fund – had no comment to Target Marathon. Neither did the artists Elmgreen and Dragset.
Prada Marfa’s site representative Boyd Elder didn’t draw any comparisons between the two installations when he first saw it and thought the Marathon installation was very trivial and organized graffiti.
Notorious artist Joseph Magnano, who was criminally charged for the Prada Marfa vandalism two years ago, thinks Target Marathon is absolutely adorable.
“I wish I had the skill set and brilliance to produce something so structured,” Magnano told the Big Bend Sentinel. “I am not aesthetically cleansed enough to produce something so polished and refined, but I am going to make believe and pat myself on the back that the ‘TOMS Marfa’ project did inspire someone with much more of an approachable, linear mind. Well executed.”
Magnano said that he was currently given early termination of his probation from his “TOMS Marfa” project,” where he was accused of damaging and destroying parts of Prada Marfa by painting and marking the structure without permission. Both sides of the installation were painted blue and images donning TOMS shoes logo were taped to the windows.
Through a plea agreement, Magnano pleaded guilty to two lesser charges of Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief and was sentenced to one year in a county jail probated to two years, a $1,000 fine, and was ordered to pay $10,752 in restitution.
Magnano has since then focused on artwork that features cows.
No word if or when Target Marathon will be dismantled, so the time to get that Instagram photo is now.