Cadillac Ranch is just the tip of Amarillo's public art iceberg, which is in large part the product of the fervent imagination of Stanley Marsh 3 (he favors the Arabic "3" over the Roman "III").
The grandson of an early Texas oil millionaire, Marsh is also the man behind 200 signs on display at Amarillo homes and businesses. Looking very much like colorful municipal signs, they don't dispense traffic or parking rules, instead offering a variety of offbeat slogans. One reads "Strong drink." "What is a village without village idiots?" asks another. "'Either the well is very deep,' thought Alice, 'or I'm falling very slowly,'" reads yet another. While the signs are spread out around Amarillo and the surrounding towns, Old San Jacinto is the neighborhood where you'll see them in the highest concentration. The ever-enigmatic Marsh explained the signs, saying, "They are to be looked at. The signs are just there, like the Rock of Gibraltar or the Statue of Liberty. They are a system of unanticipated rewards."
Beyond Cadillac Ranch and the signs, Marsh's eccentric public art vision extends to the southern fringes of Lubbock, to the rural junction of I-27 and Sundown Lane, where a sculpture of a pair of disembodied legs greets passerby. (An absurd plaque explains that they are all that remains of a great statue of Ozymandias, "damaged by students from Lubbock after losing to Amarillo in a competition.") There's also "Floating Mesa," hundreds of sheets of plywood painted the color of a blue sky on the side of a mountain. Unless it is overcast, the resulting impression is that the summit is floating. It is located about 8 miles northwest of Amarillo on the west side of Tascosa Road.
While many are amused by the creations of Stanley Marsh 3, not every Amarillo resident finds them in good taste. Those disgusted by their presence have decried them as eyesores with little or no artistic value. In response, Marsh was once quoted as saying, "Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well."
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