meanwhile back at the ranch…and the canyon

April 12, 2008 at 10:45 pm Leave a comment


Cadillac Ranch |  Amarillo, TX  |  Stanley Marsh 3 and Ant Farm

In a cow pasture along eastbound I-40 between exits 60 and 62. 
Exit onto the frontage road, then enter the pasture through an unlocked gate.

Almost 25 years ago, 2 friends and I stopped by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX (created by Stanley Marsh 3 and art farm) on our way home from a whirlwind spring break trip from Lawrence, KS to the site of James Dean’s fatal car wreck (near Salinas, CA) and back in 10 days. (hmmm…I see a pattern here).  So, in honor of that spirit, I brought the photos shot that day with me today to “visit” the ranch again. The cold wind was wicked, but I matched the photo with the same car of yore, and got it to stay put.

Telephone Pole Signs &  Ozymandias Legs |  Amarillo, TX
attributed to Stanley Marsh 3
Along Coulter Road (signs) and the legs are at Hwy 27 and Sundown Lane, between Canyon and Amarillo
Then it was off to find another Stanley Marsh site, “The Legs of Ozymandias.” Along the way, however, I discovered a 3rd Stanley Marsh environment, signs along Coulter Road, all posted on phone poles, created in what appears to be reflective tape.  A complete surprise.
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Robert Bruno’s Metal Mansion  |  Ransom Canyon, TX
On-going  sculpture/home since 1973
After that, I headed to Ransom Canyon to meet the Rare Visions (RVRR) guys and renowned sculptor/architect Robert Bruno for lunch.  After the guys headed on to more Texan attractions, I headed to Robert’s home known as the Metal Mansion.  Woah.  Another one of those “there it is!” moments.  
Robert began his sculptural home in 1973, with a very fluid and organic plan.  Trained as a sculpture, he moved to Lubbock from Mexico to teach at Texas Tech.  A bit dismayed by the flat local landscape, he soon discovered an anomaly at Ransom Canyon. Even as you near the canyon, you can’t truly see it, as it is carved into the flat landscape.  But here you will find a vista with more drama, while keeping all of the incredible vast Texan sky.  This proved to be a perfect setting for his home.
Over the years, the look and structure of Robert’s home has changed dramatically.  Originally intended to be 1 story,  he kept adding on, carving away, adjusting walls, etc.  All of the walls in the home are either welded metal, or original glass/stained glass creations.  All designed to optimize light and his visual experience.  Walls were removed to increase visual vistas, stained glass added to create contrast to the rusted metal (with a subtle nod to his love of catholic iconography and visual language, as well as the old churches of Mexico).  Not limited to expressions in glass and metal, Robert also created a beautiful wooden entry table of fluid lines and delicate grace.  And he does it all himself, setting this home apart from a typical architectural project with other draftsmen and craftsmen contributing.  (unlike another famed architect known for his fluid organic style.
After 35 years of  work, he just moved into his masterpiece last month.  When asked what was the tipping point for the move (thinking it was something structural, mechanical, etc.)  he simply said the his lease was up at his old place.
I spent a way-too-short-few hours visiting with Robert, a most gracious host and kind, creative soul.
Back in the car and it is off to San Angelo (with a few stops along the way to shoot more photos for the new book).  (Regarding yesterday’s rant about texan highways….rinse and repeat.)
Odometer: 975 miles
Cartunes: Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits, Springsteen’s The River, Starbucks’ British Invasion, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Decemberists’ The Crane Wife
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Entry filed under: cadillac ranch, rare visions, road trip, robert bruno, stanley marsh, texas.

600+ miles… meanwhile back at the ranch…and the canyon

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