Playboy to erect sculpture near Marfa
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
MARFA – Playboy Enterprises Inc., Hugh Hefner’s multimedia corporation that brought Playboy magazine to the world, is installing a roadside sculpture near Marfa.
According to documents filed with Presidio County, Playboy has applied for a certificate of compliance under the county’s subdivision regulations for new electrical service.
Playboy is leasing about 6,500 square feet of land west of Marfa from an area rancher to site the installation.
Caitlin Bower, head of special projects for Playboy Enterprises signed off on the affidavit requesting the new utility service.
Bower and Jeremy Kenik, Playboy’s Division Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs, could not be reached at press time.
According the Presidio County Judge Paul Hunt’s office, Neville Wakefield, a writer, curator and commentator on contemporary art, culture and photography is working on the project.
Wakefield was the curator for Ballroom Marfa’s Autobody exhibition that was on view from September 30, 2011 to February 12, 2012.
An artist’s rendering of the project shows a car on top of what Hunt described as a “post-apocalyptic” Donald Judd concrete box. Erected next to the sculpture is a neon light displaying the iconic Playboy Bunny logo. According to the elevation details and a 3D rendering of the project, dubbed Playboy Marfa, the neon bunny, measuring 13 feet wide and 20 feet tall, will stand 40 feet above the ground on an electric pole.
“My understanding is it will be a temporary, possibly as long as one year, installation just west of town on the north side of Highway 90,” Hunt said this week.
The sculpture came on his radar when the new electrical utility was needed.
“One of the requirements it will have is to light this sign which requires new electric service, and in a border county you have to get a certificate of compliance.”
Hunt said Playboy Enterprises complied with the requirements of the application.
“They’ve done some adjustments to direct the light down and they’ve worked with representatives from McDonald Observatory,” Hunt said about Playboy Enterprises’ efforts to comply with the Dark Skies ordinance.
“Since it’s going to be a temporary installation there won’t be any permanent concerns of light pollution.”
Hunt said the artist’s rendering is not exact; it shows the sculpture a few feet from the highway. Ultimately it will be set back from the highway “quite a bit,” Hunt said.
He said another element of the project is to stream a video of the project online.
“Their intention, also, is to have a 24/7 online streaming video view of this from across the highway.”
Hunt added, tongue-in-cheek, “If they’re not clever, you may get to watch the vandalism as it occurs,” a reference to the multiple acts of vandalism of Prada Marfa.
Asked what he thought the community’s response would be to the project, he said with a sigh, “I’m guessing it will stimulate some conversation among quite a few constituents in the county.”