Marfa has become known to many as a cultural and artistic oasis within Texas with art that appeals to all walks of life. But at what point does art go from being controversial, to an affront to the beautification of Texas? That is the issue TheTexas Department of Transportation is dealing with right now. TxDOT has ordered Playboy Marfa, the extremely controversial piece of roadside art, to be taken down once again!TxDOT issued to Playboy Enterprise Inc. another Order of Removal, to remove the neon bunny signand the nearby 1972 Dodge Charger from the ground.They are again given another 45 days to pull down the signage after they were given the first Order of Removal in early July 2013. The signage was supposed to be gone by August 5, 2013, but it looked like Playboy hoped to convince TxDOT for the order to be lifted. But TxDOT restated its primary standpoint and sent an email of the new Order of Removal insisting that The Bunny has to come down.
According to TxDOT, they ordered the sign to be removed since Playboy did not have a Texas license for outdoor advertising and never submitted a permit application for the art. Furthermore, the location did not even qualify for a permit. The unpermitted signage violates the federal Highway Beautification Act. TxDOTwill refer the case to Attorney General if the installation is not removed over the next 45 days.
This neon-lit bunny sign features the magazine’s iconic logo that was designed by New York artist Richard Philips, and Playboy’s creative director of special project Neville Wakefield. Both bunny sign and 1972 Dodge Charger were erected as part of their attempt to revive the magazine brand to the younger generation or tolaunch the company’s new cultural initiative.
This controversial piece of art is situated just outside Marfa on Highway 90, about 25 minutes away from the more famous Prada Marfa piece. Although Marfa is a small town, it has become known as a centre for artists and is now full of galleries, installations and amazing restaurants. The piece has caused a partition in Marfa locals giving different opinions. While some classify it as a piece of art, othersare calling it nothing more than a clever marketing strategy.
The verdict is out, but Playboy has taken Texan lawyer Dick DeGuerin on their behalf and is now working on an agreement with TxDOT.
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