Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 1: Amarillo "Cultured Us"

“The Amarillo Ramp is mute until I entered. And it is only later, when you return to the top of the bluff, and look back that you realize how carefully it has been sited, how on first seeing the earthwork from above in plan, everything is revealed by predestination.”

John Coplans

Our experience viewing Amarillo Ramp was also muted by the thunderstorms and rain that drenched the Texas Panhandle before we arrived. Not be deterred, we had a fine Cinco de Mayo meal at Bracero’s, purchased cans of spray paint (champagne and merlot – the color of our rental vehicles), made some memories at Boots and Jeans, and met Brad at 3 PM at Toad Hill, Stanley Marsh’s Estate. 

Indiana found its way to Amarillo at Bracero's.

Brad took us to the Cadillac Ranch where we initiated any new and old shoes we were wearing while walking out to the cars. The mud was worth it as the clouds and reflections around the carcasses were unlike any normal viewing experience. The lake around Cadillac Ranch is evidence why we were unable to see Amarillo Ramp.

Later Brad took us to the Art Mall to meet Jon Revett who spoke about a grant he received to help preserve the earthwork. As soon as the ground dries, he and a few assistants will cut the cacti from the ramp, remove the graffiti and fix the tail which has deteriorated rapidly. He mentioned Nancy Holt’s wish that the Ramp be reconstructed (maybe even leveled and completely rebuilt).  Smithson did not mind graffiti on cars but he did not want graffiti on rocks, so all traces of the green spray paint were previously removed.  Jon also found the center of the ramp and Smithson’s original stakes so reconstruction according to Smithson’s design is in reach. 

The highlight (for Jacinda) of the day (trip) was viewing the old Standard Oil gasoline station in Ed Ruscha’s photographs and paintings. It is now a transmission shop next to another Mexican restaurant that we may someday visit. 

We rounded out the night with a limo ride to the Big Texan Steak Ranch. We were serenaded by three cowboys playing a stuffed animal topped base, fiddle and guitar. Some of us ate steak for the first time and we made many additions to our quote book. 

Trevor Campbell and Noelle Weigand at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.

Jacinda Russell and Lara Kuykendall

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