Merry Prankster Or Public Nuisance? My Stanley Marsh Opinion
When you first arrive in Amarillo, people will tell you to stop by Cadillac Ranch. It's Amarillo's most famous roadside attraction showcasing a row of what used to be a symbol of the American dream, Cadillacs buried fin-side up in an empty field.
Stanley Marsh 3 was once quoted as saying that "Art has to get you out of your mental rut," in a 1978 interview with the LA Times. Maybe that is exactly what happens when you stop by Cadillac Ranch, which he commissioned from the art group Ant Farm from San Francisco, or view the other pieces of "art" Stanley was involved with.
Floating Mesa was the first stop on the "Tour de Marsh" this morning, and it wasn't nearly as impressive as the stories made it out to be. Traveling out to the outermost outskirts of Amarillo on a clear summer day to see the "art installation" seemed to be the worst time to do so. It just looks like decadent litter semi-circling what would otherwise be a perfectly beautiful natural formation.
The next stop was Cadillac Ranch. It was underwhelming. The paint fumes were the overwhelming part.
Standing in the heat next to tourists from all over the world, one can't help but wonder why it was put there in the first place.
Both of these "art installations" were commissioned by Stanley Marsh 3, who also put up signs scribbled with absurdity, once had a giant faux billiard table installed on his property, carried a bucket of manure into a courtroom, sent letters to the wife of a President and to a Vice President which caused him to be put on Nixon's list of enemies, and was prone to drop water-balloons from his office window onto unsuspecting pedestrians.
If art is supposed to get you out of a mental rut, then Marsh's art worked. It made me wonder how fine the line really is between "merry prankster" and public nuisance.