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Stanley Marsh 3, creator of Cadillac Ranch, dead at 76

The giant of the American art scene was 76.

By Matt Bradwell
Stanley Marsh 3, creator of Cadillac Ranch, dead at 76
UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

AMARILLO, Texas, June 17 (UPI) -- Stanley Marsh 3, best known for his role in creating Amarillo's famed Cadillac Ranch art installation, died Tuesday. He was 76.

The beneficiary of his family's vast oil fortune, Marsh devoted his life and money to Texas' art scene, funding the 1974 construction of Cadillac Ranch, a roadside installation of ten Cadillacs buried nose first in Amarillo farmland.

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"The art that Stanley brought to Amarillo was an influence on my desire to become an artist," Amarillo artist Jacob Breeden told the Amarillo Globe-News.

"Being raised around the Cadillac Ranch, Floating Mesa, the Amarillo Ramp and the Dynamite Museum Signs opened my eyes to what art could be. He cultivated a culture of art that allowed Process Art House to grow. Our condolences go out to his friends and family."

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Since its construction, Cadillac Ranch has become somewhat of a mecca for the global graffiti and arts scenes, with street artists coming from around the world to repaint the old cars.

"All that graffiti and vandalism gave them a real patina, like those Chinese vases that increase in value with each crack," Marsh said of the instillation in 1990.

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"It shows people love their monuments."

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Marsh's later life was plagued by controversy, stemming from multiple ongoing charges involving sexaul conduct with minors.

"It's unfortunate that he passed away before the whole story could be told," Kelly Utsinger, who was representing Marsh said.

Christopher Owens, former lead-singer of the indie rock group Girls, spent much of his youth in Marsh's tutelage, eventually working as the Texas eccentric's personal assistant. Owens publicly credits Marsh with influencing his life and music.

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