"Art should capture your attention", a friend once told me. "If it does, it's done its job."
By this definition, the ten Cadillacs buried nose down in a field outside Amarillo Texas are art. There's certainly nothing like them anywhere else. And to make it a little more interesting, the cars stand at the same angle (about 52o) as the face of the Great Pyramid in Cairo
This project, which has become known as "Cadillac Ranch", was funded by Stanley March 3. March was a somewhat eccentric media man whose family had made its fortune in Texas panhandle oil and gas development. Mr. March made it clear he was not Stanley March Roman numeral III, but rather Stanley March Arabic numeral 3. He provided the land and the ten Cadillacs (model years 1948 - 1963) for the project, which was completed in 1974 -- at a time when Cadillacs were still a desirable car of some prestige. Mr. March 3 funded a variety of art-related projects during his lifetime, but none more enduring than this one.
The original idea was to showcase the development of the Cadillac tail-fin, as you can see in the old photos above. The installation of the project was done by the Ant Farm group. The cars are oriented in an east-west direction and were relocated in 1997, being moved further out of town as Amarillo expanded.
I'd driven past Cadillac Ranch a few years back and was impressed by my distant glimpses of this Americanized version of Stonehenge. This year I decided to be sure to stop and study the cars up close. What I found was a colorful collection that does not much resemble the cars buried there anymore. Tires have been removed or destroyed, the tail fins and chrome of the cars have largely been removed, and the bodies are covered with layers and layers of spray-painted graffiti.
When we visited, there were at least a half dozen people with spray cans adding their own statements to the cars. In that sense, the project definitely has succeeded as art. During the half hour or so we visited and viewed the piece and the people around it, I'd say at least 50 people came and went. So on good weather days, hundreds of people still come to view Cadillac Ranch. Not a bad legacy for Mr. March 3.
(The paint is so thick it is dripping off)
The paint was extremely thickly applied such that in places it appeared to be melting off, not unlike the appearance of small stalactites.
The photo above was used as last weekend's One Clue Mystery. It was recognized by Marilyn Jones and George G. Congratulations to both!
I conclude this post with a closer look at some of the 10 Cadillacs....
Cadillac Ranch is open 24/7/365. There is no admission fee. It is located slightly west of Amarillo, just off the I-40 freeway. You approach the site via the southern Frontage Road.