Created in 1974 by the San Francisco-based avant-garde art collective “Ant Farm,” “Cadillac Ranch” is a startling roadside installation just 10 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas. Architects Chip Lord and Doug Michels, along with art student Hudson Marquez bought ten used Cadillac cars at an average cost of $200 each from local junkyards to use them for their unique project. The automobiles were half-buried and positioned nose-down from the oldest 1949 to the newest 1964 model facing west at a sixty-degree angle.
The project, being now one of the most famous roadside attractions in the United States, aspired to celebrate the “Golden Age” of the American automobile and the American dream. The art installation, also highlighting the absurdity of consumerism, was sponsored by eccentric helium Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh 3. In the late 1990s, the project’s sponsor decided to move the cars two miles west from their original location to escape the growing Amarillo sprawl.
The public art installation, now covered entirely in graffiti, is open to the public at all hours. Passing graffiti artists or other visitors are recommended to walk around or even bring with them a couple of spray cans and leave their mark. “Cadillac Ranch” has inspired numerous magazine fashion spreads, functioning as a backdrop for photo shoots, and music videos. Beautiful art pieces such as “Carhenge,” located in Nebraska, shares plenty of similarities to “Cadillac Ranch.” “Carhenge,” built by Jim Reinder, is an art installation that is formed from vintage American automobiles near the city of Alliance.