The Cadillac Ranch was a huge disappointment. From photos going back about forty years, I was expecting a pink Cadillac or two. What exists now is a lot of graffiti-covered junk. All the original paint is gone, and some of the cars have been vandalized. I hate to say it is a reflection of the way our culture reacts to art, broadly defined, but it is hard to see it and not wince.
"Roadside America" had this to say about the installation:
"Standing along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh's fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.
"That was in 1974. People would stop along the highway, walk out to view the cars -- then deface them or rip off pieces as souvenirs. Stanley Marsh and The Ant Farm were tolerant of this public deconstruction of their art -- although it doomed the tail fins -- and eventually came to encourage it.
"Decades have passed. The Cadillacs have now been in the ground as art longer than they were on the road as cars."
Well, there you have it. If you're determined to go anyway, take Exit 60 (Arnott Road) from I-40. The display is out in a field to the south of the interstate, just off what looks like a service road but is actually Route 66. You can park next to the fence and walk out to the vehicles.
Local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 was the mastermind behind Cadillac Ranch which he built in 1974 to embody the American Dream of mobility, hope, commercialism and perhaps a pinch of despair. Hey, who would know better than a man who made his money as a helium tycoon?! Set on about as flat and bleak a field as you could imagine, there are ten Cadillacs buried nose down just under halfway and on the same exact angle reportedly as some pyramids in Egypt.
Though the land is private, it is free to enter through a cattle gate to explore the “sculpture” anytime during daylight hours. They make for great photographic subjects but it that's not your thing and you're still feeling artsy, there are cans of spray paint scattered about. This is one place that graffiti is not only allowed but encouraged! If ever you thought to yourself while driving across the USA that maybe, just maybe it would have been easier to fly, this is one time you will remember exactly why you drove in the first place. Who says the best things in life aren't free? Well, Cadillac Ranch is.
10 cadillac cars half buried in the ground sitting in a line ,these have been seen in many adverts and on many LP covers of bands.
You are allowed to spray paint these cars .
if you went in the summer of 2004 you would have seen the 2nd on in from the right spray painted with "TRINA , BARNET" down one side .
"What's your opinion of performance art ?"
"I thinks about as much of it as I do about rap music"
"Well you might change your mind on this one, do you want to see 10 Cadillacs half buried in the ground"
"That sounds interesting"
"Well somewhere here, between exits 60 and 62 on the I-44 stands the Cadillac Ranch. By God, those artists in the 1970's had one wacky time"
"What's it supposed to mean"
"Well, and i'm only guessing, but I think it is a kind of ecological statement that continuing to use these gas guzzling monsters will mean we all will end up the same way, unless we change our ways"
"One sobering thought, and they didn't know much about greenhouse gases and the ozone hole back then"
This strange sight can be found along the old route of Route 66, which now parallels I-40 just west of Amarillo. Here, you will find one of Texas' most interesting sculptures. It is a row of various Cadillacs buried halfway into the ground. They are set at the same angle as the great pyramids in Egypt. Many people bring spray paint with them when they visit the site.
A monument of the times when the cars had wings. Cadillac ranch may be a trivial sight for travelers, who happen to be around, but still it is amazing view and combination of modern and street art, and the emptiness of plains in Texas. Would be quite surreal, if one ended up there surprisingly without knowing the existence of such place.
Twelve miles outside of town old Route 66 passes Cadillac Ranch. An extraordinary piece of modern art.
Contructed in 1974 by eccentric millionaire Stanley Marsh III the helium millionaire who owns the dusty wheat field where it stands. Marsh and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art collective, assembled used Cadillacs representing the "Golden Age" of American Automobiles (1949 through 1963). The ten graffiti-covered cars are half-buried, nose-down, facing west "at the same angle as the Cheops' pyramids."
It's easy to miss as it's not well signposted and the cars are set well back from the road. There is no visitors centre or any other sign of commercialism so prevalent these days.
The 'piece' is pretty much untouched except for the grafitti which now covers the cars which is a shame as the original piece had the cars with pristine paintwork.
In 1999 the cars were repainted by volunteers from the Hampton Save-A-Landmark program, working alongside the original Cadillac Ranch artists, and new(ish) tyres fitted but the wind and grafitti soon obliterated the paintjobs.
More pictures in the Travelogue
The area's most famous bumper crop, located south of interstate 40 just a few miles west of town ( Amarillo ), the CADILLAC RANCH attracts visitors from around the world. The 10 cadillacs buried nose down celebrate America's love affair with the automobile.
On historic route 66, to the west of Amarillo, 10 Cadillacs are half buried in a dusty field. Visitors are encouraged to add their own graffiti.