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The New Republic on Prada and Playboy Marfas

28 Jun 2013

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image via U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Jason Farago contrasts the Marfa-adjacent public sculpture from Playboy, “the troubled, “aspirational lifestyle brand”” with Elmgreen and Dragset’s Prada Marfa in The New Republic:

It’s one thing, though, for artists like Elmgreen and Dragset, with their evidently ersatz shoe emporium, to mock the larger art world’s absorption by the commercial domain. It’s quite another for a corporation itself to get in on the act, underwriting branded material that’s intended not as a critique of commercialization but as a simple PR opportunity. Enter, then, Richard Phillips—an artist who has made his name through a deft imbrication of high art and the commercial sphere. If you’re familiar with the name, it’s probably thanks to a TMZ-friendly exhibition he mounted at one of Gagosian’s many New York spaces last year: a series of giant paintings of Lindsay Lohan, not photorealist so much as just really, really big. He also won a spate of press coverage for a film he made of Lohan, posing à la Brigitte Bardot in Contempt.

It’s a great read, recognizing both the “cunning” nature of the Playboy project, and the naievete of its more histrionic detractors, saying …