The Texas Department of Transportation told Playboy it has 45 days to take down a 40-foot neon sculpture of the magazine’s bunny logo from the side of U.S. Highway 90 in Marfa, Texas.
Marfa is a known hub for artists in the Lone Star State. According to Marfa resident Lineaus Lorette, the bunny is not a piece of art. Rather the iconic logo is an advertisement, which requires a permit.
"I thought it was a sign - a corporate logo. And in Texas you can't put up signs without permits," Lorette tole the El Paso Times. "I checked and it didn't have a permit so I filed a complaint."
According to Lorette, other residents resent the fact that Playboy used their town for marketing purposes.
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"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."
The sign is part of an art display that includes a 1972 Dodge Charger atop a concrete platform. It was designed by contemporary artist Richard Phillips and Playboy’s creative director of special projects Neville Wakefield.
"The agency has ordered the property owner to remove this sign because the owner does not have a Texas License for Outdoor Advertising and a specific permit application for the sign was not submitted," said Veronica Beyer, TxDOT's director of media relations in Austin. "Furthermore, the location at which the sign has been placed does not qualify for a permit."
Playboy says the art display, called “Playboy Marfa,” doesn’t violate any laws, but it will try to appease the TxDOT.
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The firm representing Playboy, PR Consulting, said that they do not consider 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."