I don’t remember when I first noticed the display of seven and a half upended 1957-1994 vintage Airstream travel trailers planted in a field on the south side of Interstate 4 east of Tampa, Florida (near exit 14). I do remember thinking it begged to be photographed.
Tom contemplates art: The south-east side of the “ranch”
Frank Bates created the Airstream Ranch in 2007, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Airstream (hence 7 1/2 trailers) and paying homage to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. It’s been controversial and neighbors didn’t especially like it. The dispute eventually ended up in court with Mr. Bates prevailing. The court didn’t say it’s a work of art, but they did rule there’s no evidence it “created a nuisance, was a commercial sign or constituted an open storage of the vehicles.”
Airstream Ranch B&W
This turned out to be a difficult photographic assignment, especially since we were there in the middle of the day and the light was harsh. How could we interpret someone else’s “art”? How could we take something that’s been photographed so many times and do anything unique? Who knows? Who cares? I do know I enjoyed stopping and finally getting to see this up close, instead of glancing at it from the highway as we zoomed by.
Side view from the I-4 side
If you go, don’t stop on I-4 – it could be dangerous! Instead take Exit 14 and go past the McDonalds, then take a right on US 92. The next right is Castlewood Rd. and it winds around behind the field where you can park on the side and walk a short distance to the trailers.
Is this display artwork? Junk? An advertisement? A nuisance? Me – I think it’s outstanding in the field. And great fun!