Ant Farm staged Cadillac Ranch Show in 1974 along U.S. Route 66 Texas. Ten different models of Cadillac cars were half-buried in a row, nose-first in the ground, at a sixty-degree angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt. Each car features one step in the evolution of the tail fin from 1949 to 1963 in a statement about innovation in a technological era, the American dream, and the absurdity of consumerism.
Ant Farm — a collective of radical architects who were also video, performance, and installation artists but, above all, visionaries and cultural commentators — offers an intriguing look into the conceptual activity of the late sixties and seventies – Constance M. Lewallen
Ant farm was an avant-garde architecture, graphic arts, and environmental design practice, founded in San Francisco in 1968 by Chip Lord and Doug Michels. Having foundation in architecture, they aim to combine music, modern dance and architecture thus allowing them to create radical works work.
In the case of Cadillac Ranch, Ant Farm comments on the consumerism habits of Americans after the war. As stated in the interview, there was a automobile craze in the 50s as manufactures switch from producing war related consumer goods to consumer products. there was a craze of modifying and altering the cars. In fact USA was the largest exporter of automobiles. The planting of 10 Cadillac, a luxury car, itself is a bold statement of the mass consumption of goods. In addition, the site of this artwork further solidifies this notion. Stage on a plot of land owned by billionaire, Stanley Marsh, this shows how little the value of the cars meant to Marsh. Through such as ostentatious presentation, Cadillac farm was able to call attention of the passerby easily. Many stop and partake in the work by adding graffiti to it. In which Ant Farm regular adds a new coat of paint to cover up the graffiti.
One thought on “ANT FARM: CADILLAC RANCH”
Good work and glad you made reference to the interview with Chip Lord. Yes, you are right, Cadillac Ranch grew out of the obsession with cars that was prevalent in the 50s and 60s in America, and of great importance to the Ant Farm artists. And you are absolutely correct that the placement of Cadillac Ranch was very specific to Route 66, to become what they referred to as a “roadside attraction.” One thing that would have strengthened your conclusion was making mention of the participatory nature of Cadillac Ranch, which essentially turned the work into public art that inspired social interaction: which ties in very nicely with our study in Experimental Interaction.