MARFA, Texas — Playboy has 45 days to remove a 40-foot high neon Bunny head sculpture from a West Texas Road.
The Texas Department of Transportation ordered the removal of “Playboy Marfa," that sits on a stretch of rural road along U.S. Highway 90 south of El Paso, claiming Playboy doesn’t have the proper license for outdoor advertisement in Texas.
Designed by New York contemporary artist Richard Phillips and Playboy creative director of special projects Neville Wakefield, the sculpture is part of the town’s roadside art. It features the iconic bunny head sitting on a post inserted next to a tilted concrete platform with a blacked-out version of the classic 1972 Dodge Charger.
Locals miffed over the iconic corporate symbol sitting in the town known as a hub for artists, have reportedly voiced concern and filed complaints.
Marfa resident and CPA Lineaus Lorette kicked off the dust up by filing a complaint. "I thought it was a sign — a corporate logo. And in Texas you can't put up signs without permits," Lorette said. "I checked and it didn't have a permit so I filed a complaint.
"I was really ambivalent. It's a beautifully made sign," Lorette said. "The problem is that it's a sign. The rules have to apply to everybody."
But Playboy’s disputing the backlash. An official Playboy statement from PR Consulting said, "We do not believe that the art installation by Richard Phillips violates any laws, rules or regulations. Our legal counsel is currently looking into this matter and we hope to resolve this issue satisfactorily and as quickly as possible."
Agency spokesperson Veronica Beyer said the authority is treating the case like any other case with similar circumstances.
Playboy Marfa was completed as a temporary structure in mid-June and was widely covered in the mainstream media. Although it sparked curiosity, there were no objections to it being built at the time.
Wakefield told the El Paso Times, "As both an all-American roadside town and an art world mecca, Marfa occupies a particular place in the popular imagination. Marfa provides the perfect backdrop to launch an artist car collaboration with one of America's most iconic brands."
Playboy creative director Landis Smithers described the project as "an indication of our commitment to creating moments that appeal to a younger, culturally engaged generation of men and women."
"As we reinvigorate Playboy through art and culture, Marfa was deemed the ideal location to reiterate to the world our commitment to art and design as it relates to the lifestyle Playboy represents today," Smithers said.