Move Over, Prada

Playboy erects roadside attraction near Marfa, Texas

Playboy erects roadside attraction near Marfa, Texas

Playboy Marfa by Richard Phillips
Playboy Marfa by artist Richard Phillips. Photo by Adrian Gaut
Playboy Marfa at night
The Playboy logo lights up the West Texas sky. Photo by Adrian Gaut for Playboy
Playboy Marfa Richard Phillips
The black Dodge Charger pays homage to 1970s American muscle-car culture. Photo by Landis Smithers for Playboy
Playboy Marfa Richard Phillips at dusk
Playboy Marfa at dusk. Photo by Adrian Gaut
building playboy marfa
Playboy Marfa during installation. Photo by Landis Smithers for Playboy
Playboy Marfa by Richard Phillips
Playboy Marfa at night
Playboy Marfa Richard Phillips
Playboy Marfa Richard Phillips at dusk
building playboy marfa

Move over, Prada Marfa. There's a new roadside attraction in West Texas that is sure to inspire myriad Instagrams: a 40-foot-tall Playboy logo hovering over 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.

The artist responsible for the project is Richard Phillips, known for his large-scale portraits of women and pop culture icons and last year's Two x Two award recipient. The work was commissioned by Neville Wakefield and Landis Smithers, Playboy's new hip team in charge of reviving the brand for a younger generation.

"I loved his idea of this glowing symbol in the middle of nowhere as we — Playboy — are emerging from this period of darkness," Smithers said in an interview with T Magazine.

The installation pays homage to 1970s American culture — from the car to the neon to the Playboy emblem itself — and Phillips cites Donald Judd as a huge influence. The muscle car hints at a foregone time of luxury; the similarity between this installation's concrete form and Judd's famous field of concrete sculptures is intentional.

The work is meant to be temporary, possibly up for about a year. A rumor is circulating there could be a 24-hour video feed set up in front of the piece, complementing a business that makes its money orchestrating peeks into private moments.

Playboy Marfa is apparently 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.

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 addition can listen to commentary on Marfa Public Radio.