Terminal structures: Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch, 1974

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Fine Arts
Department Art/Art History
Author Maguire, Patrick
Title Terminal structures: Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch, 1974
Date 2014-08
Description The San Francisco art and architecture collective Ant Farm built Cadillac Ranch in 1974 outside of Amarillo, Texas, to showcase "the rise and fall of the Cadillac tailfin." The ten vintage Cadillacs buried nose‐first in a row along the old Route 66, with their tailfins jutting up obliquely, is often read as a monument to the golden era of the American automobile. Yet despite (and because of) its continued popularity, the work has rarely been taken seriously as art. This thesis proposes a revaluation of Ant Farm's iconic project, and represents an attempt to position Cadillac Ranch as an important sculptural installation that speaks to many of the key concerns of the American avant‐garde of the 1960s and 1970s. My title references the Jewish Museum's 1966 exhibition "Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculpture," which sparked the rapid legitimization of minimalist sculpture in the postwar American art world. Reading Cadillac Ranch against this seminal artistic tradition, I argue that the project can be read as a monumental epitaph to the exhausted aesthetic models and sociopolitical narratives of the late‐modern period. Cadillac Ranch memorializes modernism by rehearsing its formal techniques, but as a hybridized, participatory project, it also enacts modernism's end.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Ant farm; Cadillac ranch; Land art; Minimalism; Monument; Sculpture
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Patrick Maguire 2014
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 288,747 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3109
ARK ark:/87278/s6060q6z
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-09-16
Date Modified 2017-10-26
ID 196677
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6060q6z
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