Cadillac Ranch Redux

Few places on earth are more perfect for burying 10 aging Cadillacs nose first, than a hay field along I-40 East, just beyond the Amarillo, TX border.

Commissioned by Amarillo eccentric and millionaire, Stanley Marsh in 1974, Cadillac Ranch was the brainchild of Ant Farm, a San Francisco collective of architects whose counter-cultural take on consumerism inspired a Route 66 installation that’s still attracting tourists and future graffiti artists.

It was a carnival atmosphere when Leah and I arrived one late afternoon. Food trucks and vendors selling spray paint were parked inside the farm gates tending to families who had come to showcase their tagging talents

albeit temporarily, since it never lasts for more than a moment when others are there for the same purpose.

Over time, the paint build-up has transformed the Cadillac shells into grotesque casualties of Rust-oleum polymers,

leaving behind a graveyard of cans…

atop freshly, blazed signatures.

Fortunately, there are advisory signs directing people to act responsibly.

But signs are just a distraction from the real business at hand,

which is group participation in a colorful experiment of American culture and capitalism.

Cadillac Ranch

A handful of cars and trucks were pulled onto the shoulder of a road beside a cow pasture along Interstate 40 in Amarillo, TX. A barbed wire perimeter protected entry to the field, but a rainbow-colored cattle gate provided access to an infinite vista of grassland and graffitied hay rolls.

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Although road signage made it very clear that all graffiti stay on the other side of the road,

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anything on Stanley Marsh’s property was fair game for tagging and tacitly encouraged.

The sun was setting,

sunset

and the mosquito swarm was brutal, as if they saw it as their obligation to annoy anyone curious to walk through a field where ten Cadillacs were partly buried in the ground.

Additionally, with golden hour light fading quickly, I felt my glow time was severely limited.

Nevertheless, working around the tall shadows cast by a low-hanging sun, I managed to capture a spectrum of random and radiant colors that seemingly changes by the hour, courtesy of spray-painters who choose to be anything but anonymous.

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