Cadillac Ranch

When you find yourself in Amarillo, make sure to pay attention to the small installments of art surrounding the town. With the installation of Dynamite Museum, various traffic signs painted with their own unique symbol, saying, or picture, there is a piece of art almost everywhere you look. This artwork was put up around the city by local millionaire Stanley Marsh III and some local, self-proclaimed punk kids. The movie “Bomb City” showcases a portion of the dynamite museum in a few scenes. The movie is based on the true story of the murder of Brian Deneke, a local punk rocker artist who was purposefully run over by a high school jock from his opposing high school during a massive brawl in a parking lot. 

Brian Deneke was connected to Stanley Marsh III through art and assisted in the making of the Dynamite Museum. Stanley Marsh was an eccentric Amarillo millionaire who got in trouble with the law when he was sued by 10 different teenagers for sexual abuse allegations. The suits were settled, although Marsh’s lawyers denied the claims made against their client. Aside from his fallout with these teens, Marsh was also famous for the unusual artwork he plagued the town with. 

Not only has Marsh commissioned Dynamite Museum, but he is also responsible for one of the biggest attractions that bring travelers from all over the country to see. That would be Cadillac Ranch. While it may not be large-scale in popularity, it has garnered national attention before and continues to attract hordes of tourists driving through the city. Today, the property the installation lies on is accompanied by food trucks for visitors to get a quick snack while they are on their way out. 

“What in the world is Cadillac Ranch?” you might ask. Cadillac Ranch is an open field (hence the “ranch” part of the name) that features 10 Cadillac cars ranging in year-model from 1948 to 1963. They are lined up from the east to west and are located at 13651 I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124, between Bushland and Amarillo. The installation was done by an art group from San Francisco called Ant Farm, which consisted of the artist's Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels. Constructed in 1974, the work of art was originally located in a field of wheat but was moved 23 years later to its current location to avoid being trapped in the growing city of Amarillo. 

Stanley Marsh III contributed to the artistic nature of the city with installations such as The Floating Mesa, Amarillo Ramp, and The Legs of Ozymandias, in addition to Dynamite Museum and Cadillac Ranch. With Cadillac Ranch being the most popular of his work, you would think that the subsequent defamation of the installation following its construction would have upset the artists. However, none of them spoke opposition to it, and now it is a Cadillac Ranch tradition to paint on the cars with cans of spray paint when you visit. This has, unfortunately, led to a major increase in litter in the area due to spray paint cans being scattered across the field. 

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Map from Cadillac Ranch to William Wheeler, Amarillo REALTOR

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