Film & TV


Ed Paschke – A Profile and a Bunny

This sculpture exemplifies the innovative exploration of pop culture and visual expression...

March 23, 2024

Ed Paschke (American, 1939-2004), a luminary figure within the Chicago Imagist movement, pushed the boundaries of traditional art forms to explore the intersection of pop culture and visual expression. A testament to his innovative spirit is his original mixed media neon wall sculpture of the Playboy Rabbit Head Logo, a piece that encapsulates Paschke's fascination with the iconography of mass media and its influence on contemporary society. Signed on the verso and dated 1993, this striking sculpture not only adorned the lobby of Playboy's New York office but also graced the January 1994 cover of Playboy magazine, marking a significant moment in the confluence of art and popular culture.

This sculpture was displayed in the lobby of Playboy's New York office, and this image appeared on the January 1994 cover of Playboy magazine.

Paschke's journey into the art world was deeply rooted in Chicago, where he was born and later became a pivotal figure in the Chicago Imagist school, a group known for their grotesque, surreal, and vividly detailed artworks. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Paschke immersed himself in a wide array of influences, blending elements from Renaissance art to the emergent visual culture of television and advertising. This eclectic approach fostered a distinctive style that was as provocative as it was colorful, often exploring themes of identity, technology, and the constructed nature of reality.

The Playboy Rabbit Head sculpture exemplifies Paschke's ability to navigate the realms of high and low culture, transforming a commercial symbol into a piece of art that invites reflection on the power of imagery in shaping public consciousness. Through his adept use of mixed media and neon, Paschke breathed new life into the iconic logo, elevating it from a corporate emblem to an artifact of cultural significance.

Beyond his contributions to the Imagist movement and pop culture, Paschke was also a dedicated educator, influencing future generations of artists during his tenure at the Art Institute of Chicago. His commitment to teaching, coupled with his groundbreaking work, cemented his legacy as a visionary artist who redefined the possibilities of contemporary art.

Ed Paschke's neon Playboy Rabbit Head sculpture stands as a vibrant intersection of art, media, and society, reflecting the artist's enduring fascination with the visual language of our times. As we contemplate Paschke's work, we are reminded of the ever-evolving dialogue between art and the cultural icons that shape our collective imagination.

Hugh Heffner's red smoking jacket and black silk pajamas



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