Move over Prada Marfa, there's a new roadside attraction that hipsters and modern desert-goers will be Instagraming themselves in front of.
A white neon bunny outline sporting a bowtie — the unmistakable logo of men's magazine Playboy — has found a new home in the West Texas desert. Standing 40-feet tall, the bunny is located next to an all-black 1972 Dodge Charger balanced precariously on a slanting, hollow concrete rectangle. It's a lonely and beckoning symbol on 6,500 square feet of land leased from an area rancher along Highway 90, west of Marfa, Texas.
The piece was designed by Richard Phillips, the artist behind large-scale, Mad Men-esque, ultra-realistic portraits of women and pop culture icons inspired by magazines from the '50s, '60s and '70s. The art installation and its elements evoke a 1970s feel; Phillips cites Donald Judd and his art-meets-West Texas' sprawling empty land philosophies as a huge influence. The muscle car hints at a foregone time of luxury, and the similarity between this installation's concrete form and Judd's famous field of concrete sculptures is intentional.
According to New York Times' T Magazine, Neville Wakefield and Landis Smithers, Playboy's new hip team in charge of reviving the brand for a younger generation, commissioned the piece. Word on the street is the installation is meant to be temporary, possibly up for about a year. There's a rumor there could even be a 24-hour video feed set up right in front of the art installation, complementing a business that makes its money orchestrating peeks into private moments.
With blatant commercial overtones, this installation is apparently the first in a series of many art projects being commissioned by Playboy to enliven its brand. Just like a well-placed piece of fabric on a lovely model can add to the enigmatic appeal of a magazine spread, Playboy Enterprises and the project’s PR firm might know that keeping things mysterious makes this project even more enticing: Neither has yet to comment on the art installation.
The story was first reported by Presidio County newspaper Big Bend Sentinel. Those interested in hearing what Marfa locals have to say about the new art addition can listen to commentary on Marfa Public Radio.