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The Ubuweb Experimental Video Project
Colin Marshall

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28. Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch (1974-1994)
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Here's another of the videos on Ubuweb where the operative artwork isn't so much the video itself but the thing out there in the world that it documents. But if you'll never make it out to Amarillo and experience this array of midcentury luxury cars half-buried at pyramidal angles for yourself, this is potentially valuable viewing. You'll certainly never be able to witness it in life as it exists in this video, since the whole shebang was quietly moved a bit, to 35í11'14?N 101í59'13.4?W, in 1997. Plus it's always getting re-painted, re-graffiti'd, re-painted, re-graffiti'd, etc.

The above-mentioned performance by Stanley Marsh 3, who's an actual real dude and the installation's real patron, qualifies as Something You Don't See Every Day, especially in the art world. He cowboy-camps it up in both 1974 and 1994, the years between which the video intercuts. I get the impression that most patrons of the arts are desperate not to make fools of themselves, but Marsh seems to have elevated a certain flavor foolishness to a raison d'Étre. Then again, I suppose if I came into an inheritance of oil wealth, I'd also try my hardest to earn the title of "prankster."

The video's second half is news broadcast from 1994, one of those brief local-wackiness segments covering the Ranch's 20th anniversary. This is the sort of thing I would expect Ant Farm to include, what with their evident give-and-take relationship with the non-artistic media. In fact, I sort of wish that all artists' videos about their own concrete works or the concrete works of others' included excerpts from the reaction of the mainstream. Though I'm as sick as you are of hearing talking heads ask, "But is it art?", there's oftentimes an interesting clash of perspectives to be explored.

And, unsettling realization: mid-90s TV looks old.



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