Art Party Shutdown

Playboy roadside art in Marfa appears destined for premature exit

Playboy art in Marfa appears destined for premature exit

Playboy Marfa by Richard Phillips
TxDOT has given Playboy 45 days to take down its bunny sign. Photo by Adrian Gaut

The Texas Department of Transportation is putting the kibosh on a modern art installation in West Texas. Artist Richard Phillips created Playboy Marfa in June, and the homage to 1970s American culture was scheduled to stay up alongside Highway 90 for a about year.

Apparently, nobody told TxDOT. The agency has given Playboy 45 days to dismantle the 40-foot-tall bunny logo, which accompanies a 1972 black Dodge Charter positioned precariously on a rectangular concrete slab. The decision to take down the artwork isn't political or prudish; it's a matter of zoning.

"The agency has ordered the property owner to remove this sign because the owner does not have a Texas License for Outdoor Advertising, and a specific permit application for the sign was not submitted," TxDOT's Veronica Beyer told the El Paso Times. "Furthermore, the location at which the sign has been placed does not qualify for a permit."

Playboy Marfa was the first in a series of many art projects being commissioned by Playboy to enliven its brand. Phillips' next installment in New York, about which he and the Playboy team are rather vague, is expected to be unveiled by the end of the year.

Phillips is known for his large-scale portraits of women and pop culture icons, and he was last year's Two x Two award recipient. The work was commissioned by Neville Wakefield and Landis Smithers, who have been charged with reviving the brand for a younger generation.