Playboy Forced to Take Down Texas Sculpture

Playboy Forced to Take Down Texas Sculpture
Bob Johnson

MARFA, Texas — After six months of controversy in the small West Texas town of Marfa, Playboy has been forced to take down its roadside sculpture depicting the iconic bunny head and vintage Dodge Charger auto.

Despite numerous attempts by Playboy to have it remain, claiming it fit with the area’s progressive art community, the Texas Department of Transportation forced the company to take it down on Monday.

Opponents of the sculpture, created by artist Richard Phiilips, claimed that the 40-foot high neon Bunny head sculpture promoted a corporate image rather than art.

The Texas DOT said the company did not have the proper license to display the work.

Although the Marfa exhibit is gone, Playboy has already made arrangements for elements of the dismantled sculpture, intended as a temporary fixture, to be placed at the Dallas Contemporary art museum where it will re-emerge this month. The Dodge Charger will be on display museum in Miami.

Playboy said in a statement, “The ‘Playboy Marfa’ Dodge Charger’s undeveloped form served as the blank canvas that Phillips used to reimagine the artist edition ‘Playboy Charger.’ The art car will be unveiled on an international platform starting December 3, 2013 at an exhibition concurrent to Art Basel Miami. Titled ‘Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile,’ the week-long iconoclastic exhibition includes a collection of art cars presented by Venus Over Manhattan — a New York City-based curatorial platform founded by Adam Lindemann.”

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