“ROAD DOES NOT END”
Cadillac Ranch, a public art installation composed of a line of Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground, defies an easy explanation. It was created over thirty years ago as a collaboration between Panhandle native Stanley Marsh 3 and members of the 1970s San Francisco art group “Ant Farm”. Marsh, a practicing artist and patron whose later works favor facsimile road signs with odd sayings like “Road Does Not End”, explains the initial meaning of the car sculpture this way: “Cadillac Ranch is a monument to the American Dream. And the dream of most American boys when I was growing up…was to get a Cadillac, or a car of any kind. A car represented money (it was the first valuable thing we ever had), it represented sex (it was where you had dates), and it represented getting away from home. And I assure you those were the three things that were on our mind when we were sixteen.” Since its creation, however, Cadillac Ranch has come to mean much more, serving as a popular pilgrimage site for public art enthusiasts. Its setting, a cow pasture on private land along Interstate 40 (its second location), unofficially invites access, encouraging public participation in modifying the designs and colors of the work’s ever-changing surfaces. This transformation of meaning (and looks) fits Marsh’s approach to art, one that exchanges traditional ways of interacting with art for a more integrative approach. “Art oughta be under the underpasses, in the supermarkets, at the filling stations, on the side of road, in the mall – where you don’t expect,” Marsh insists. “It oughta come as a surprise.”
Daily, sunrise to sunset.