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Prada Marfa post-MagnanoRita Weigart

Prada Marfa vandal pleads guilty

Joseph Magnano must pay nearly $12,000 in damages and fines for vandalising the iconic art installation

About a week ago, the Texas District Attorney asked to use our articles on Prada Marfa vandal Joseph Magnano as evidence against him in court. But we heard nothing after declining to sign documents allowing their use – which must be because the 36-year-old artist has pleaded guilty on two counts of misdemeanour criminal mischief for vandalising the iconic Texan art installation. 

Magnano, who also goes by the name 9271977, will have to pay $10,700 in damages to help restore the building and will also have to cough up a $1,000 fine. Magnano covered Prada Marfa in blue paint and huge TOMS stickers back in March, outraging fans of the beloved Elmgreen & Dragset-designed landmark.

"There was no destruction here," Magnano told us at the time. "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."

Michael Elmgreen was unimpressed by the attack, describing it as "bullshit to do with vanity". The Texas District Attorney told us that the prosecution wanted to use our interviews with Magnano because it showed his lack of repentance and his willingness to openly discuss the crime and use it as self-promotion. 

This, he said, made it hard for Magnano to mount a plausible defence. None of which matters now, because he's 'fessed up and under the rules of his two-year probation, Magnano is not allowed to promote or profit from his actions.

Elmgreen & Dragset's original intention was to let the installation decay naturally and fade into the wilderness; but then again, how many dilapidated buildings do you see not covered in graffiti? It seems that Magnano just stole the opportunity – but in the eyes of the law, that makes him a vandal. What do you think?