Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Cadillac Ranch

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Cadillac Ranch - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
Cadillac Ranch - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, USA. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. The installation front half of the cadillac was buried in dirt. Ten Cadillacs (1949-1963) nose-first in the ground. Installed in 1974, the cars were either older running, used or junk cars — together spanning the successive generations of the car line — and the defining evolution of their tailfins.

In 1974, the millionaire and art patron Stanley Marsh 3, who had inherited a number of major oil firms, commissioned Ant Farm to do a piece for his ranch in Texas. Influenced by the advertisements for Chrysler and the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, Lord, Marquez and Michels decided to plant ten Cadillac automobiles (dating from 1948 to 1964) in the ground, inserted front hood first, at the same angle as the pyramids of Egypt. Thus, Cadillac Ranch aims to be a celebration of the symbol represented by the American car. Within the context of the Vietnam War and the emerging concern for ecology, this work also questioned the raison d’être of an imperialist industry which was so harmful to the environment. The site chosen for the piece, in a wheat field visible form the highway, was near the mythical Route 66. Very quickly, Cadillac Ranch became one of the most famous public works of art in the United States. The eponymous heroine of Bruce Springsteen’s song (1980) and very widely used in advertising, it is visited each year by thousands of tourists who make it their own by covering the cars with graffiti.

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